Saturday, October 3, 2009

October 3, 2009 - Day 54

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

I hit a roadblock today - I just didn't want to paint another painting. In the past, I would have just said "OK, so I don't feel like painting today. I can always paint something tomorrow". The problem with that is I wouldn't paint anything the next day. I probably wouldn't paint anything for the next week or longer. Once I lose the momentum I can go months without painting which is why I originally started this blog.

There is a cartoon strip called "The Other Coast" and they have 2 cartoons that really apply to me right now. Here are the links to the cartoons that I am talking about:

The Other Coast: 2009-09-21

The Other Coast: 2009-09-25

Who knows by day 100 you may just see a polar bear in a snowstorm or a series of paintings of my bathroom fixtures :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 2009 - Day 53

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Another "Rainbow Reflection" painting. As I started to lay in the colors and desert landscape came to mind so that the direction I took the painting. Not much else to say on this one.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009 - Day 52

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Thought I would try my "Rainbow Reflection" of a lady dancing. The technique has great potential if I can learn to manipulate it to do what I want.

I must have thrown out 10 paintings today just trying to get one that was half way decent. I liked the way the dress came together but I totally messed up the head and one side of the body. After it was dried I re-wet that side of the painting and applied another layer of paint which I scraped with a palette knife to indicate the arm and the head.

Part of the problem may be that I paint so small. I would have much better control of the sgraffito if my paintings were larger but then I would have problems keeping the paper wet enough to do the technique. Maybe once this project is complete I will start another one where I paint large paintings.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009 - Day 51

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

After yesterday's success with the Rhododendron"Rainbow Reflection" painting I thought I would try to use the same process to create a yellow Iris. In my mind I know what I should do but I can't translate that into a painting. I tried 5 times but this was the best that I could do. First the paper was too wet. Then it was too dry. Then the paint was too thin. Then it was too thick. If any thing is even a little bit off the technique won't work.

I really want to improve my "Rainbow Reflection" paintings because they are so much fun to do and they are so bright and cheerful. I would like to be able to use this technique to create everything from landscapes to florals to figures.

I mean, can you imagine what it would look like to paint a female dancing figure with the flowing brilliant color of yesterday's painting??? It would be amazing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009 - Day 50

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

This is a "Rainbow Reflection" painting created using watercolor paint wet-in-wet with sgraffito. For this technique saturated color is randomly placed on damp watercolor paper and while it is still wet areas are scraped off (sgraffito) using a palette knife. The scraped areas naturally form the highlight and the areas where the paint puddles form the shadow. Everything else is mid-tone.

I call them Rainbow Reflections because the paintings not only reflect my love of bright colors but they also reflect the viewer's own imagination. People see different things when they look at these paintings. Some see just what it is meant to represent - in this case a Rhododendron bush. Others, however, see hidden images like faces, animals or mythical creatures within the looseness of the painting. For example: I see the form of a hummingbird in the upper right corner of the painting.

These are amazingly fast to create because they have to be done before the paper has time to begin drying. When they work they are vibrant and full of life. When they don't work they are a muddy mess. I did discover today that the paint must be fresh from the tube otherwise the color just isn't strong enough to overcome the wetness of the paper. Compare today's painting with August 29 and you will see the differencethat it makes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009 - Day 49

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

Well I think my florals are slowly improving. I didn't try to do anything fancy with the background this time but rather just stuck with a plain graduated wash. The form and light is better on today's painting than previous florals but I found that I couldn't tell from my photo reference the shape of the top petals. Basically I was just guessing at how the shadows should go and I don't think they are correct. I just realized that I could have taken a look at some photographs that I took of yellow iris (irises??) to get a better idea of the form of the petals. Oh well, too late now!

I am really proud of myself today. Before I started this project I always had excuses why I didn't paint but today I have painted at least 1 painting a day for 49 days. Even if nothing else comes of this project my painting skill has improved greatly. I should have done this years ago but I guess I was afraid that if I didn't produce something that was "sellable" that I was wasting time and money.

God, where would I be today if I would have done this 20 years ago when I first started painting?

Where will I be 20 years from now? I can't wait to find out :D

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27, 2009 - Day 48

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Aquarelle cold press watercolor paper

This painting started out OK but didn't finish where I would have liked it to be. I like the rosebud in the front which was done with one wet-in-wet application. I became overly fussy with the large rose and overworked it. I tried doing each petal separately but it might have been better to give the whole rose a wash of the light peachy color and then drop in the dark pink shadows while still wet.

I was unsure what to do with the background again. I originally had it a khaki color but didn't like it so I added washes of pale Ultramarine Blue at the top of the painting which I then dabbed with a wet natural sponge. For the foreground I used a stronger Ultramarine wash and dropped in some Burnt Sienna.

I would like to come up with a background technique that I could use with a variety of subjects. I really love paintings that have loose and flowing backgrounds with all the detail on the subject. So far I am hit and miss with my backgrounds. One more thing to work on during the next 317 days.