Category Archives: Watercolor Painting

Strange Holiday

So it’s the 4th of July, and I’m sitting around in my red, white, and blue (flip-flops and Eeyore pajama pants are patriotic, right?), and I’m musing about the strangest Independence Day ever. The usual local fireworks display at the high school football field down the street has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the neighbors seem to be taking up the slack… and then some — at least the neighbors who are less concerned about keeping all ten fingers.

The extended family didn’t plan anything today except that we attended a memorial service this morning for a dear friend. Our daughter is moving to another state in a month. My husband is waiting to hear if he will get the job he interviewed for on Thursday. He’s been at home since March; his previous job was eliminated due to the pandemic’s economic fallout. There was one art fair where I planned to sell my work at the end of the summer, and I just now learned that it has been Corona-canceled. Everything seems to be in a state of change or uncertainty. In the midst of all this, my motivation to make art has had its ups and downs.

I’ve been working on a bunch of smaller works on paper and trying out some art supplies that I had collected but never used. Three pieces (pictured above) that I was very happy with came of it, and then I ran out of ideas for a few days. The next round produced one even smaller floral watercolor (with bee) and then one dud (not pictured). They can’t all be winners. If it’s not a success, then it’s lesson, right? I think the main lesson in that one was that cheap watercolor paper is no bargain.

I am looking into selling my art as prints and merchandise. There are several print-on-demand sites where I could set up an online store. For those who don’t have a place to hang a large oil painting but still want to enjoy a little art, perhaps a print to put on a desk will be just the thing. I’ll keep you posted.

Snow Days Are For Making Art

January-February

It’s been a rough winter weather-wise and we’ve used up our allotment of “snow days” at the school where I work for my day job.  I didn’t sleep away my extra days off.  Well… not a whole day, anyway.  I did the taxes, and then I did art.

The picture on the left is three of my great-grandfathers sisters.  I never met them; neither did my father.  We only have the one photograph of them, but it caught my attention among all the other old family photos.  They seem like people I would like to meet.  They also seemed like people I would like to paint… and so I did — in ink and watercolors.  It had been about thirty-five years since I used that medium, but I think I’ve got the hang of it again.  I titled it, “The Smith Sisters, Circa 1935.”

The middle picture is the result of not being able to decide what to paint.  I eventually decided that I would ditch all of the possible reference photos I was mulling over and just paint a face entirely out of my head.  At first she looked a lot like me.  Then, for a while she looked a lot like the actress Leelee Sobieski.  I think, now that she’s finished, she looks a lot like one of those fictitious princesses created by a certain film company that also owns a few theme parks.  Because she’s monochromatic and I “carved” her out of paint and my imagination, I titled that one “Cameo.”

The fish is just a little sketchbook practice, made with Sharpie pens and Sharpie markers, but I had a lot of fun with him.   I drew the fishy and painted the fictitious portrait while listening to audio books from the Library.  I recommend Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman.  It’s an account of the lives of Vincent Van Gogh and his younger brother Theo, and of their very close relationship.  It was intense.  I mean the book, but their relationship was definitely intense too.

I will be going on a weekend road trip to visit relatives in a few days, and I’m taking my sketchbook along.  The family visit may be all that we do, but if there is some “down time,” I want to be ready with some art supplies.  I’ve never sketched in a moving car, but I might give it a try.  Artistic confidence comes from Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!

 

Going over to The Dark Side

StillLifeWithHydrangea2-underpainting-SMALL

I’ve got a fair amount finished on the underpainting of the second version of my still life.  It’s feeling very dark.  Rembrandt dark.  That was the plan though; keeping the rest of the painting dark and softened in detail, so the central focal point of light effects on the small pitcher will “pop.”  But I’m used to using all the vibrant colors that acrylics are known for.  This is new territory for me.

Yesterday I was working on the wood grain of the table that the objects are sitting on.  I was using the finest of brushes with very few hairs and highly thinned paint mixed with gesso.  It was tedious, but I think it’s working.  The paint was so thin, it might as well have been watercolors; and the canvas was so absorbent with eight layers of gesso, it might as well have been paper.  Quite a mixture of techniques will go into this one.

I discovered it’s really difficult to not keep painting those super-fine lines over and over in the same spot when I intend to paint new lines next to the previous ones.  It seemed to be the same problem I’ve had with target shooting, so I employed the same principles to correct my “aim.”  (Dad would be proud.)