9.22.2010

construct

9" x  12"
reserved

as far as i'm concerned, watercolor is all backwards.  i was trained in oil paint.  with oil paint, you sculpt your image. beginning with a base color that peeks through at opportune moments, you carve the darkest shadows first, next working in the midtones, with cool tones receding and warm tones advancing, creating spatial arrangement.  adding the brightest highlights, the finest details last, you've worked the malleable surface over in layers of glazes and textures until its just so.  it can take forever, or it can take a day.  but if you make a booboo, you are forgiven: you can wipe it off, or paint it over, scrape it or sand it or do what you will.

watercolor is not so forgiving.  during my crash course, i've quickly come to realize this.  watercolor is like playing defense: you must anticipate everything.  your highlights must remain bright with the white of the paper, while the shadows shrink in carefully to create depth.  you must plan ahead.  and be careful.  the paper soaks up everything, and when wet, colors bleed together and muddy every attempt at definition.  watercolor is as spontaneous as northwest weather, surprising me all the time.  luckily i am up for a challenge.  luckily, this new approach to painting can also be applied to my life.  when life gets complicated like watercolor painting, i must breathe deep and remind myself: take your time, think things through, anticipate the outcome, plan thoroughly, and then execute.  you will be pleasantly surprised at the result.

2 comments:

  1. I paint with oils backwards. I start with the highlights and foreground and finish with the dark spots and background. This isn't intentional, just some goofy instinct and that I never took an oil painting class or read any "how to" book. I find my artistic weak points are equally as important as my strengths to arrive at any sort of good painting.

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  2. interesting! i suppose that's because you're using the white of the canvas as your highlights. you may be brilliant at watercolors then too!

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