Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A work in progress

As you've proably noticed, I've been taking a break from the smaller daily paintings and focusing on larger pieces. One reader suggested I take the time with these pieces to post some images of them in stages. I was spoiled by the immediacy of the 4"x6" portraits, as I was always able to finish them in a single sitting.

But there is so much more surface area on the larger sheets -- I have to stop, let portions dry, take a step back. I think it will be beneficial to me, as well as any interested viewer, to see how a painting changes, how we have to take advantage of "happy accidents" which are the calling card of watercolor, and see that where we end up may never have been where we thought we were going when we begin.

So -- here goes.

This is the preliminary line drawing, using india ink on watercolor paper. I was very happy with the expression and almost left it as is. But I was too tempted to liven her up with color.

My first effort was a disaster. I'd used my usual palette of bright, saturated colors but it just wasn't working. Wish I'd taken a pic. I was so disappointed that I ran the entire sheet of paper under the faucet and let it soak in the tub. When most of the color drained from the paper, I took it out let it dry and began again.

There were very pale, pastel colored washes over the surface of the paper, the remains of my first attempt, but I just began painting again, and chose an entirely different, more muted, earthy palette. The next stage, still unfinished, is below.

She still needs more work on the face/cheekbones and also her arm. I love the colors in the wall behind her, but I think it needs to be pushed further into the darks.

Watercolor always dries a few shades lighter than when you put it down -- the wet paint always seems dark and saturated, so it's often best just to let it dry periodically and take a break. Once fully dry, the painting presents an entirely different course of action. To be continued.............


dinahmow said... a bag of mixed sweets! Yes, I DO know what you mean about colour sometimes misbehaving.
I'll be interested to see how you either darken the background or lighten the body.

Ron Southern said...

Thanks for the two views.