View Full Version : Old Tree By The Creek

Old Tex
04-28-2007, 09:25 PM
The dark blue in the foliage shadow on the left doesn't really jump out on the original like it does here, Tried photographing, but didn't do any better, so stayed with the scanner.

C&C welcome.

Gouache 5x7

04-29-2007, 10:14 AM
Another beauty!
Just curious if there is a particular reason why you choose 5x7 size for most of the posted works?

04-29-2007, 11:56 AM
This is a very nice painting. May I ask what brushes you work with?

Old Tex
04-29-2007, 01:05 PM
rdp, I just started painting a few months ago, and I'm still learning so much about the gouache, and about how to use the brushes, that, with landscapes, I'm just very comfortable working at this size. The portraits I've done are all 8x10, and I've done a couple of 8x10 landscapes, but I just haven't been all that comfortable with them. Besides, I'm cheap, and until I know more about what I'm doing, I hate to waste paint!

I will say that I've been thinking about stepping up to 8x10 again just to see if it changes the way I paint. So you may see one or two before long. I appreciate your interest, and your nice comment!

Scott, Thanks! When I started painting, I was using cheap paint and cheap craft brushes. The imprint says "Contemporary Crafts". (Probably the kind where you can buy a tube of twenty for $5!) I have since bought a few Windsor & Newton and Princeton brushes, but still find myself grabbing one of the cheaper ones for most things. Most of the foliage is done with #4 brights (Princeton), a #4 & #10 shader (Contemporary), and most of the detail and negative spaces in trees with a stiff #0 liner (Contemporary).

I also occasionally use a #1 W&N fan. On 8x10s, I will step up to 1/2" & 3/4" flats, mostly for washing in the base for skies, large grass areas, and some tree foliage. I tend to use both washes and opaque brush work in a painting, so I move back and forth between soft watercolor brushes and stiffer acrylic/oil brushes. Personally, I think the quality of the paint is more important than the brushes. When I finally bought some W&N gouache, after the sticker shock, I was much more pleased with the results. More than you wanted to know, probably.

04-29-2007, 01:50 PM
Hi Ralph,

Your painting is just so, so beautiful. I love it. I see what you told me on my thread about simplicity. I am learn so much just from all of you in this forum. I just hope I can paint as well as you in the near future.


Old Tex
04-29-2007, 04:29 PM
Thanks, Yvette, that's very kind of you. I still have a long way to go to be where I want to be, and I learn with every painting. I'm finding that there are two important keys to improvement. One is to paint, paint, paint. Even if I'm not thrilled with a painting, there is always something to be learned while doing it. The other, for me, has been this website. Explore the forums, look at the work, and read the coments. I'm not terribly comfortable critiquing the work of others, but I do it occasionally because I know how much others' comments have helped me. There are some truly wonderfully talented artists here, and us novices can learn so much from them. I really appreciate your nice comments.

04-29-2007, 05:29 PM
Hi Ralph,

I am sincere about "loving your painting". I find it hard to believe you have only been at this for a short time. I paint every day and if I don't its like something is missing. This is the first forum that I post so much in. The other forums were always once in awhile.

I'm grateful that you critiqued my work. I find that you are very helpful and have an eye for what is wrong with a painting. I know because my second bird is softer and prettier.

Thanks for showing us your work. I really want to learn this medium. Putting away acrylics for a while.


04-29-2007, 06:09 PM
Thanks for sharing the information about the brushes you use. They certainly seem to work for you. I'll have to try using a flat. I've always used round kolinsky brushes, which are too expensive, but worth it because they are sturdy and keep a point. I also use W&N, which supposedly don't use chalk in their recipe. I find Dick Blick and Utrecht sell them for a little less than other stores.

04-29-2007, 08:36 PM
Hi Ralph,

That's quite a website you have. You really are talented, and versatile. I've enjoyed your landscapes on this forum a lot and I'm wondering what led you to focus on landscapes because your portraits are wonderful too. Are you finding it more satisfying to work with gouache than with the other media like graphite? (or maybe you're doing both)

I learn from reading the critiques and maybe one day I'll feel like I can add my own. 'Til then, I'll just keep learning.


Old Tex
04-29-2007, 11:42 PM
Hey there, Selene. Glad you like the website. I've just spent part of this evening adding to it, updating, and doing some maintenance. I really appreciate your kind words, and am glad you're enjoying the landscapes.

Boy, you've asked some questions that call for some long answers, so here goes: First, regarding the change in media, there are several reasons... at 63, my eyes are not as great as they once were, and I was finding the detailed crosshatching and tiny pencil strokes were straining my eyes a bit too much. Another reason is just plain commercial, crass as that may sound. I've found that most people seem to understand painting, but only a much smaller number have enough appreciation for a drawing to want to hang it on their wall. And besides, I've wanted to paint for most of my life, and figured if I was ever going to get to it, now was the time.

As for the subject matter, I love doing portraits, and when I started painting, that was what I did first. But again, I want to reach a wider audience, and I felt landscapes (and still lifes) had the most universal appeal (there's that commercial factor again). And landscapes are probably the one area that I had never been able to do well.

So I presented myself with a two-pronged challenge: learn to paint.. and paint landscapes. And believe me, I am finding it a real challenge. But it's a challenge I'm enjoying immensely, and each painting seems to show a little more progress in what will now be a lifelong learning process. I lost my mother to Alzheimers a year ago, and just in case it's hereditary, I'm determined to keep my own creative juices and the learning process going full speed. Sorry, that was a bit long-winded, but I didn't know any other way to answer your questions. Keep learning!

Richard Saylor
04-30-2007, 05:50 AM
This painting is wonderful. I walk around (hike) a lot, and this is probably a scene that I would have passed over without a second glance. You, however, saw the potential in it for a painting. I need to work on that: how to see.

By the way, for inexpensive paint I like Da Vinci. There is not too wide a color selection, but it comes in big 37 ML tubes for a very reasonable price (from Dick Blick or Cheap Joe's, for example). Watercolor paint can also be used just like gouache (although it may sometimes be a bit more transparent). Maimeri also makes a good inexpensive gouache as well as watercolor.

04-30-2007, 08:26 AM

Excellent painting. Great composition. I really like the grasses in the foreground - what techniques did you use for those? Did you paint in the blue of the water on top of/after the greens of the grass?

I have only one small suggestion, and that is to change the color of the foliage as it recedes into the background. But I'm reaching to find that - it's such a great painting. I love the texture of the bank and the blue in the water is absolutely beautiful! It goes so well with the hints of red in the tree trunk and the hot shadows.


04-30-2007, 09:17 PM
Thanks for your answers to my questions, Ralph. I don't mind long answers. I'm very interested in people's motivations and directions in art. (And insights--I didn't realize that drawing was appreciated less than painting.)

I feel like I'm seeing a very beautiful part of Texas through your paintings.

By the way, I just read a biography of De Kooning. He had Alheimers during his last years. He kept painting for several years after he could no longer converse or recognise people. It seems to be the last to go.


Old Tex
05-02-2007, 12:04 AM
What a wonderful thought. Thanks for sharing that.

05-17-2007, 08:17 PM
I also checked out your website and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. I think that the excellent background you have in drawing, with all the knowledge of values, has helped to make your progress in painting go as fast as it has. Interesting to know about De Kooning and painting. I had a friend who did not recognize her husband any more but sang along with the songs he played on the piano. What a crazy fascinating thing the mind is.

05-28-2007, 12:46 PM
What a wonderful painting! I particularly like the comp and the way you handled the reflections

maggie latham
05-28-2007, 06:45 PM


I love this little painting also. It has a lot of pastel painting qualities. Isnít it great to work on a small size?
I have been doing a lot of work on 5.5x10.5 lately. Great for horizontal landscapes. What paper are you using? Have you tried to work on Hot pressed paper? I love the Isabey mop squirrel brushes, but that is because I use a lot of water and lay almost pure watercolor washes on top of a white gouache base. Sometime I mix gum Arabic with either watercolor or gouache and it stops it from dulling so much.



Old Tex
05-29-2007, 01:34 PM
Boy, I've really gotten behind on responses. Like a lot of people, my painting time is limited, and this website is so interesting that I spend far too much time looking instead of painting.

Connie - Thanks for taking the website tour! I do think the years of drawing have helped, but it's also a drawback, because I'm so used to working tight and detailed. Switching to brushes has presented a whole new ballgame.

Eileen - Thank you. I'm finding myself drawn to those reflection scenes. Switched over to do a couple of southwest Texas dry country scenes, and found that I missed painting water and shadows!

Hi Maggie! I do like working the small sizes, but have moved up to 8x10 (still small for oil painters), and find just that small increase in size has presented new challenges. I work almost exclusively on cold press Crescent board. I tried the hot press early on, but wasn't happy with the way the paint went on. Of course, it may just be that I'm an old cuss who's set in his ways...

06-07-2007, 12:38 AM
This painting is lovely..:-)))))))