Friday, August 29, 2014

Ocean Tide Study I

Ocean Tide Study I
watercolor
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have begun a series of small paintings inspired by the ocean tides. A recurring theme in my painting that continues to inspire me to put paint to paper. They are about the light, color, and movement of the sea as it comes to shore in its eternal, comforting rhythm. As a subject, these images provide me with a place to expand on my painting vocabulary, how to show all of that watery motion with sharp and soft edges, brush strokes, and changes in value and hue. This painting was inspired by the beach in the early morning light of the sunrise, when the pastels of sea and sky blur on a misty horizon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

sketchbook :: sunflowers

We went to our local farmers' market last Saturday where sunflowers were abundant. So I brought some home to paint in my Strathmore watercolor sketchbook. Of course, I put the wrong date on the page - it was sketched on Sunday, the 24th, the day after the market.
However, the sunflowers are still glorious today as they continue to grace our dining table.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

watching the river run

Watauga River at Valle Crucis
watercolor
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

We live in a place where rivers begin. I have always thought there was something special about that. One of our rivers, the Watauga River, runs through the beautiful Valle Crucis Park here in our mountains. It is a spot we often visit for sketch outings. This painting is inspired by one of the lovely views of the river there.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Morning in the Neighborhood

Morning in the Neighborhood
watercolor
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

My little rural/suburban neighborhood is not more than a stone's throw from the Blue Ridge Parkway. And it can be, at times, full of noise and activity. Lawn mowers, kids, the summer sounds of cicadas and the nearby cows calling. But early in the mornings there is a peacefulness when the light is soft and the grasses are still damp with dew. This painting is inspired by such a morning in summer.

Monday, August 11, 2014

sketchbook : random still life

It has been cool, very wet, and very foggy for days on end here in our Southern mountains. Wanting to sketch I chose random objects from my kitchen for a little watercolor play time.

I am still enjoying this Strathmore watercolor sketchbook. However, when I sketch across the page, as I did here, the entire page spread does not fit on my scanner. So you are left with a less than crisp photo in order to view what's inside my sketchbook.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Where Huckleberries Grow

Where Huckleberries Grow
watercolor
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

There is a hiking trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway where we have been told wild blueberries, sometimes called huckleberries, grow in abundance. We have not picked the wild berries, or even been along there when they are ripe, but the views from the top of the hill, looking down on Bass Lake, are beautiful.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grandfather Mountain Light

Grandfather Mountain Light
watercolor
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

At 5,946 feet, Grandfather Mountain is a notable landmark here in our North Carolina Mountains. It's a mountain where rivers begin, one flowing east and the other to the west, and from the top on a clear day it seems that you can see for nearly 100 miles. It has been the subject of many artists' paintings and Forrest Gump even ran the curving road up to the top.

I was inspired to paint this view of Grandfather Mountain because of the rolling hills in the foreground that were glowing in a light that seemed to be coming from the mountain itself. As if some ancient magic was alive in the mountain's rugged profile.

Monday, July 28, 2014

new sketchbook and other stuff

I am trying out a new sketchbook. As you know, I have been making my own sketchbooks for quite some time. Occasionally I give a store-bought sketchbook a spin, but I have always returned to making my own. I have tried some that were hard cover but the paper was too thin, or the pages didn't lay flat, or the paper was good but I didn't like the spiral binding. So when I saw this sketchbook advertised I was interested in testing it out. It's a Strathmore Softcover 400 Series Watercolor Art Journal.
Here is my first page spread. I like to paste in a calendar on the first pages for reference. I like the size and orientation of this sketchbook. At 7.75 x 9.75 inches it is a manageable size, and when opened I will have 9.75 by 15.5 inch area if I wish to work across the page. The binding seems sturdy, the pages will lay open flat, and the cover makes it feel very nice to hold. Because it is a soft cover the book is a bit lighter weight as well.
The other day I was in an office supply store and their display of tablet cases caught my eye. The size seemed about right to hold my new sketchbook and a few supplies. But they were expensive. Then I found this case here. I have smaller cases and pouches for supplies but nothing that my entire kit fits into, sketchbook included. Now this seemed like a workable solution. Everything I need fits easily into one lightweight bag. And it has a shoulder strap!
The larger of the front zippered pockets has pockets for pens and two elastic bands that work perfectly to hold brushes. The sketchbook fits easily into the main interior compartment.
It was a gray, overcast day but I didn't let that stop me from test driving my new sketchbook. As I often do, I painted what was right outside the window.
Although it is not the quality watercolor paper that I use in my handmade books, it did work well for my sketch. I have tried sketchbooks where the paper was rather hard and slick, which doesn't suit the way I like to paint. This paper has enough absorbency for dropping color into wet washes and allowing the paint to mix on the paper, which I like. Yet it does seem sooth enough that dry media should work just fine too. I know that sketchbook preferences are very personal things. I have even found that my own taste in sketchbooks changes from time to time. It is nice to occasionally try new supplies as a change in materials can sometimes bring a freshness or even a new approach to the way you are working.

Friday, July 25, 2014

housekeeping

Misty Morning
watercolor
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have had a busy time lately creating new watercolor paintings. So much so that I am beginning to run out of storage space for them all. So I am doing a little housekeeping, here on my blog and in my studio, with the intention to free up space for new art to be created.
Mountain Spring
watercolor
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

In my cleaning frenzy I discovered that I had never posted these two paintings. They had been sitting in my file waiting their turn so it was time to bring them out. The top painting is a view of my neighborhood in the early summer morning. And this one above was inspired by the colors of spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are both now available in my newly re-opened Etsy shop. I have quite a few other works that I will be adding to my Etsy shop, priced to sell, so if you are over that way please do drop in for a visit!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thunder Hill

Thunder Hill
watercolor
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This painting is inspired by my favorite spot along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not far from my home, there is an overlook named Thunder Hill, where you can park your car and hike up to the top. From there you can see beyond both sides of the ridge, almost to forever.

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