I've been trying a project since May where I try to do at least a plein air a week, and I've found it's significantly improved my ability to recognize and compose a picture around values. However, something I've been struggling with is how to approach foliage. I've been trying to challenge myself but I'm not satisfied with my approach. If I were doing things in oils or acrylics I know what to do but I'm a bit stumped as to how to better simplify given that watercolor isn't opaque. I have no issues using watercolor in the studio but out in the field where alacrity is needed I'm failing.
Below are some ~30-50 minute plein-airs I've done that show where I'm at. Please ignore the brown stain on the edge, I accidentally smashed a peach into the sketchbook and since these are just for practice and the paper is fine otherwise after I washed it, I haven't replaced it yet. I've found just letting things like that go lets me feel more courageous about experimenting since it's "just a sketch."
I don't want to switch mediums, I use watercolor because it dries quickly and the materials I need more than reasonably fit in my pocketbook for lunch-time work without major cleanup at my dayjob. The ones below are 5.5X8 on this paper: http://www.cheapjoes.com/strathmore-...FQ6f4Aod_jEAig Done with Pentel waterbrushes, a Winsor-Newton travel student paint set with a couple extra colors dried onto the tray for use in the field, namely paynes grey, sepia, indigo and shadow green to encourage me to include more values.
I'm waiting for my most recent one to dry (I just got back from being caught in a freak rainstorm, so it's soaked not just from paint >.<). it was much larger than the ones below, of a river, with lots of foliage on the banks so that I could experiment. I can put it up too if others are interested, I have it under weights to try to flatten it out as the whole 9X12 block buckled.
Thank you for your time.