Monday, October 26, 2009

Moons and cats and watercolor

Last night, I was driving home in the dark.
This doesn't happen very often, as my days are mostly spent in my studio - but after an impromptu road trip to London (Canada) yesterday, I found myself gazing at the moon and headlights on the way home. Which, in turn, had me thinking of different ways to portray my vision with watercolor.

So there I was - the minute I got home (after slipping a sleeping little traveler into his bed - say that 10 times quickly!) slapping paint onto 300# paper.

Yes, you read that right. I took a 1/2 inch flat brush, dipped it in the water, squeezed most of it off then soaked up pure pigment for the darkest darks which I just slapped on down in as close to a circle as I could make freehand. I started with Idanthrone Blue, then dived right into Ultramarine Turquoise before dipping into a little Alizarin Crimson for the deepest black I could manage. True to transparent watercolor, none of these paintings have any white paint (I did use white ink for the signature on the first piece, though)

The paint dried almost immediately, having used very little water (just enough to lose the "shine") so I was able to take my scrubby brush to the edges of the moon and soften it just a bit right away. From there, I started dropping in little bits of water on the ground to suggest a few night blossoms. Scrub some more, pop in a little yellow, and there she be darlin' - a cool, bright moon.

Well I couldn't stop there - I was on a roll.

What else could I paint in the same style? How about a black cat? Yes, perfect! I had a scrap piece of paper with a bit of paint on it, but that would only provide more interest & texture. Using the same mix of Idanthrone Blue and Ultramarine Turquoise, I blocked in a cat as best I could from memory (all my cats were off sleeping somewhere and weren't around to pose for me)

After slapping down some red & orange, then a little bright green, I went back with my scrubbie to bring out the lovely turquoise highlights on the back, and a very small flat brush to lift off a few whiskers. Another one down, and I hadn't even made a cup of tea yet!

Okay, one more. I had a very old scrap of 300# paper that was different from my usual Arches brand. Not sure what it was, but it had a soft surface. For this I drew a slightly bigger moon using the bottom of an ink bottle, and then went about the same technique as the first moon scene. But this time I added a little water to the wash as it faded down to the ground. While it was still wet, I loaded up the brush with pure pigment again and made a horizon line to suggest dark water, then scrubbed out some reflections.

All this thinking about moons, traveling at night, and sleepy children brings to mind an old song. For those of you that know it, I guarantee you'll be cussin' me for putting it into your brain for the rest of the day!

I can see the stars gettin' blurry, 

When we ride back home in the surrey,
Ridin' slowly home in the surrey with the fringe on top!
I can feel the day gettin' older,
Feel a sleepy head near my shoulder,
Noddin', droopin' close to my shoulder, till it falls kerplop!
The sun is swimmin' on the rim of a hill;
The moon is takin' a header,
And jist as I'm thinkin' all the earth is still,
A lark'll wake up in the medder.
Hush, you bird, my baby's a-sleepin'!
Maybe got a dream worth a-keepin'
Whoa! you team, and jist keep a-creepin' at a slow clip clop.
Don't you hurry with the surrey with the fringe on the top!


Manon Doyle said...

Sister you were on a roll! Love the new pieces!!
Song is great... the moon is takin' a that!

Christy DeKoning said...

thanks Manon :-)

I was a performer in my youth, and "Oklahoma!" was a musical I was exposed to often. It kind of sticks with you.

Anonymous said...

These are totally awesome! Love them! Thanks for describing your technique. My black cat has been pestering me about her portrait, but I didn't know how to approach it. Now I have no excuse, but don't tell her or I will have no peace!


Chuck Dilmore said...

beautiful new stuff!

that moon is amazing, dreamlike.

Pam of Always Artistic said...

Wow you were on a roll! I love them all. Great song too, never heard it before!

smellyrhinostudio said...

I love that stuff!! I'm glad your kitties weren't around, it's purrrrfect!!!

Is that song yours or from Oklahoma? You should be writing!

Love it!

lin said...