Water Towers in Idaho

So way back in the fall I was traveling to Post Falls, Idaho for the Log Cabin Spin In and as we drove along on the highway I spotted some very cheerful looking water towers. They were covered in white and red striping, which contrasted with all the lovely greens, blues, and tawny yellows of the early fall landscape. I decided that I had to paint one.

I began sketching out ideas (minus the highway, of course!).

First concept sketch.

Sketching out small parts.

More detailed overall concept sketch. I had pretty much settled on the main drawing, but I was still playing around with the border colors and combinations at this point. The border designs are based on pinwheel and nine-block quilting block patterns. I actually cut out extra strips of paper the same length of the borders that I laid next to the sketch to compare different colors. It made it a lot easier to visualize the difference the color and value choices made!

This is the final piece. I painted it with watercolor and gouache, using colored pencils and fiber tip pens from Faber Castell as well. I decided to pick a more sedate border color scheme, but I have to admit that I really loved the crazy colors I used in my try-out stage and am thinking over other projects to use them in. Initially I was a bit disappointed in this painting because I feel like it lost some of the spontaneity and joi d’vivre of the sketch. Now that some time has passed, I feel a bit better about it, but it isn’t one of my favorite pieces.

What color combinations do you like best for the border? Pick one from a preliminary sketch, the final, or make one up! I’d love to hear what you think!


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