Exploring a New Style in Watercolour Landscape Painting


So I had a breakthrough last night. I've been unhappy with my landscape painting style for a long time. I'm just not comfortable with where I'm at, how I approach landscape painting, and the results thereof. There are two ways to deal with an obstacle of this kind: One is to avoid it and paint subject matter that I am comfortable with (florals are where I live.), and the other is to figure out a new way to see and paint the world.

This winter I painted this lovely landscape:

Autumn's Edge, 14" x 21" watercolour by Angela Fehr

using an inspiration photo I took locally.


As a landscape painting, Autumn's Edge is a success for me. There are elements I just love, and I learned a lot while painting it (see my Youtube video on the revelation I had while painting the spruce tree in this painting). I especially love the white space in the photo, and the idea that not every element in a painting needs to be included to create a painting that speaks.

Then yesterday I was thinking about Autumn's Edge and I started seeing in my mind a version that was simply slashes of colour; turquoise sky, red/gold leaves, the yellow/purple neutral I loved in my original background trees, and some dark darks for tree trunks. I could almost taste this painting, it was so real in my mind, and so I pulled out my paints, using fresh pigment from the tube for the brightest hits of colour.

I even video taped my progress - I just knew I had something I was going to want to show you! This is a rough photo - it's pretty overcast this morning, but when a painter girl has a breakthrough, she wants to tell the world!September | abstract watercolour by Angela Fehr

There's a part of me that is crazy in love with this painting, just as it is, and another part of me that wonders, "what if..."?

What if I simplified it even more?

What if I did some underpainting with salt?

What if I tried a different colour combination?

This could be just what I needed to get past the five abandoned versions of my Arizona landscape, and push me into a whole new way to see (and paint!) the world.