My Yesterday in Pictures for, Dec 21 & 22, 2019 – Prepping to Paint w/Photos, Notans & Washes 😊

My Yesterday in Pictures Format

I’ve simply built my daily walking & painting up to the point where I need the time for these two vital parts of keeping me healthy and/or sane, lol!

My Day Ahead series posts will continue, but on a much more intermittent basis. Already it seems some of that series’ usefulness is being incorporated into this new series’ format, me yakking ‘bout what when on, on the yesterday part of my life anyway, lol! It’s a continuing experiment of course, so we’ll see 😊


Dec 22, 2019 Absorbent Grounds, BW Value Shots, and Notans

I did, finally, with Saturday’s last light place two layers of Golden Absorbent Ground White on each of two 6×6 gallery wrap canvases. The day had been packed with a morning trip to the Old Bakery and a grocery stop at Sprouts on the way home.

Evening, having chosen the two images I wanted to experiment with, I cropped, color adjusted, and created BW value studies of the them.

It surprised me the degree of value contrast in Floral Ridge, and the similarity of values within the three main horizontal bands : top (background), middle (florals), and foreground (shaded grassy stems).

I had no idea at this point, still never’ve done an image using a wash as a staring point, how much of the value bands would come out with the initial wash or two.

And frankly, even after doing two washes the next day (Sunday) for the two differing images, I’m not sure how much my initial experience will change the answer from “sorta” to “more so” ☺️

Conversely, it surprised me the tighter the range of the value bands in Ridges of Light.

I knew I was on a long sharp learning curve in regard to seeing and apply values to my art, but now I’m beginning to really feel that ascent. I’ve a long way to go!

Late evening, comparing the color and BW value versions, I started the process of another learning curve I’m simultaneously swimming in, practicing creating Notans.

Dianne Mize points out in her videos and book that doing a Notan or drawing is not only a value study, but a clarifier of what one as an artist wants to see him or herself create. She may move a calf or cow closer to another to strengthen the structure, thus beautifying the visual impact.

I found myself feeling the truth of this as I progressed 1-5. It just happened both images used same # of steps, wasn’t planned, lol! Not much of what I kept experiencing this weekend art-wise was planned 😂

One of the most surprising things I found myself seeing as I worked through to a version I liked enough to call it a night was, clarifying the value impacts I wanted (vs or in line w/the squared color adjusted image) and the eventual general directional movements of the colors and textures (also vs or in line with the color & BW photo versions).

By this time, knowing I needed to go to Michaels by 8 (to beat the crowds) to get a jar of Golden Soft Gel Gloss (recommended by Golden as an isolation layer “if” I plan to add thicker paint that’d stick onto the washes I planned to do Sunday) then go to Central Market for items for a big family & friends Christmas Eve dinner – then I really really needed to get some sleep 😴 💤 😊


Dec 22, 2019 Washes

As per pattern the last few days, the holidays rushing at us like the end of the decade 😊 Sheila finally got me to head into the art room for the last couple hours of light to brave doing my 1st watercolor-like washes. Yes. Very scary. Was very afraid I’d just been fooling myself all along about this whole new project on top of other new projects. Gulp! But I went for it!

Ridges of Light was actually 2nd, but I placed it 1st because it has more discoveries I applied from my 1st attempt below and it’ll be easier for me to explain what I experienced.

If you look closely, Ridges of Light has a lot more variation and color nuance. I didn’t overpower the magic of what I’d read a wash is best at – creating unexpected magical moments of interactions! Of color! Of texture! Of values! I left more pigment intact within the wash. I plopped more water into the mix and, tilting it slightly onto a large brush, let water run the colors down the canvas, like I’d seen several artists suggest in a few videos – what fun, lol!

I let myself have the confidence I could come back and add some of the values and flowers in the photo. Plus, I think I captured more of it’s Notan and directions from Sat nite (#5).

Floral Ridge, below, is more like the color adjusted photo, and a little less like the final (#5) Notan of it. I did get some tiny directional movement and a bit more color glow, and I do like it’s softness. But It’d be really nice to also capture some of the “surprises” the 2nd wash created. Yeah, I’m definitely smitten by washes now, lol! 💕

Today (Monday), I may add a tiny bit more wash to one or both, but with Christmas Eve and Christmas coming, I’ll (if both canvases are fully dry, which I expect they will be) need to brush on an isolation layer with the soft gel. Once that separation and new base is on, and dry (probably a couple of day) I can begin to add glazes and / or thicker dabs of paint. And that’ll be very very scary too! Deciding how much, and where! Whew! 😂

In the interim, if any time between holiday happenings, I’ll brush on Absorbent Grounds to two new 6x6s, for two new images, with the intent, once they are dry, to create washes with the full intent to be able to continue on after the isolation layer with glazes and pure paint. Sparingly I’d guess with the latter!

Floral Ridge & Ridges of Light, Wash Stages 12.22.19 ©Felipe Adan Lerma
Floral Ridge & Ridges of Light, Wash Stages 12.22.19 ©Felipe Adan Lerma

So, side by side, returning to my 1st two washes ever, I see two different outcomes.

And they’ll differ more from here, after I – 1) possibly add more wash on one or both, and, 2) I seal the washes with Golden Soft Gel Gloss, then start adding glazes and taps of paint, both of the latter probably bolstered with marble dust 😊

What I don’t know is how much I’ll deviate to preserve some of the more interesting wash effects.

My goal has been to explore and discover.

I feel I’m doing that, despite uncertainties, over & under applications of wash, and already straying from my originally decided, color adjusted, squared off versions.

I feel I’m discovering the world I’d been trying to create for decades, the world of soft sudden interactions of colors and textures.

Though I’d never trade the delay-discovery at the price of not, in the interim of years, discovering the richness of painting from a tube, or layering pigments like soils surrounding promising new plants. And, more recently, glazing and mingling textures and varnish.

Now, though, it’s time to see if and how I can reclaim what I’ve learned, and apply it to what I am learning : laying base-works of washes like the stars are to the sky, day or night, sometimes seen more than at other times, but always there, mysteriously showing through, reminding us — there’s more than seen at a glance..there’s more that’s being beckons me to look a little closer. If I want to look a little closer, so may you ❤️

Definitely wish me luck 😊

Thanks everyone!


My Day Ahead series posts, an intermittent series, elaborates on both my day ahead & the day past, my yesterday.

I try to post My Yesterday in Pictures series daily ❤️



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Artist self portrait - photo of Felipe Adan Lerma on converted railway track bike ferry for the Island Line Trail connecting mainland Vermont to South Hero on Lake Champlain.

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  1. Love your preparations and explanations! I especially like the “In-Progress Ridges of Light” which looks like a beautiful abstract. I know you finished it and make it more realistic, but I just love that stage… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa, thanks so much! I’ve had to gird my fear with accepting some pieces may not work out, and some I might lose some things I wish I hadn’t, but when the latter happens, I try to remember what it was I like and how to preserve it next time. There seems to be a lot more that can be lost and not recaptured with simply repainting when using absorbent grounds and washes. Yet I can also go back into an image in the latter stages it seems, and add highlights and lines I might not (as well at least) in a pure watercolor vs a watercolor/acrylic wash & paint mix. I’m really looking fwd to seeing more myself, lol! Happy New Year, Melissa – thanks again! 😊


    • It is! I really love learning and finding new ways of doing things! I was going to add much more to my two new 6×6 acrylic wash experiments, but my wife really like them the way they are, so I dabbed a tiny bit on one (none on the other) found a place to sign them, and am letting them dry before I add a soft gel coat. Articles say it’ll seal the absorbent surface, prevent all kinds of things happening, lol! Merry Christmas, Tiffany! 😊


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