Category Archives: Watercolor Painting

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.)