Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Starting all over again

Sometimes you just have to wash off the crap of the previous day and start fresh.

Well, that's exactly what I did today.

By 11am I had really had enough of this painting. I was ready to give up (except I had a looming deadline biting at my heels)
but just before I ripped the paper in 2 and exiled it to my "use the other side" pile, I decided to try washing off all the layers and letting it dry. A risky thing to do after using such staining pigments as Alizarian Crimson and the like, but I figured it was worth a try. I REALLY did NOT feel like sketching this all over again. So I took it over to the sink, cleared away some of last night's dinner dishes (I'll get to them later or wait till my husband comes home and explain why I never have any time to clean the house during the day) and turned on the cold water full blast.

I love to watch the particles of paint loosen up, leaving some little bits stuck in the cracks of the paper.
I tried something different ... plastic surgical scrub brushes on the paper. Wow - it was awesome! You can buy these little gems at Lee Valley Tools and we just love them for our hands & nails, but this was my first time trying them on watercolor paper. Not a scratch!


So I patiently let the soaking (and I mean SOAKING) paper dry nice and tight, then sat down and really thought about the composition. In my haste to get colorful, I had not really given much thought to light & shadows & negative space (so necessary, to my mind).

I didn't like the Cadmium Yellow one bit. So the first thing I did was lay down a layer of Gamboge over almost the whole painting. I left a few bits of white paper to show through, but what I wanted was a nice warm glow, like right after a good rain.

I switched from Ultramarine Blue over the Phthalo or Intense blue - what a difference! I didn't even need to add any more Winsor Green (enough of it was left on the paper from my first wash).

Finally, I stepped back and thought about the boy's jacket. In the reference photo it was a cream cardigan, but I didn't have any more white paper, and there was no way I wanted to add any gouache to this painting. So I fiddled around on some scrap paper and decided that Olive Green would bring it all together.

et Voila! a good day's work...I can blog to my heart's content now (or maybe even try out the new Aviary browser-based image editor that I'm so excited about)

Aviary is a suite of web-based applications (RIAs) for people who create. From image editing to typography to music to 3D to video, we have a tool for artists of all genres.

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