Thought I’d try a watercolour still life in the same comic book style as my self-portrait from last week. I did it the same way with a pencil and sharpie sketch first which I then lightly traced onto watercolour paper. Then I did the watercolour layer and the final outline in with a fine brush and black watercolour. I think the variance in line weight was better in the portrait, but I guess that would be something to work on.
I’m glad that I photo-documented the painting process for this one because what I thought was happening and what was actually happening were two completely different things. I went to bed after the first day of working on this feeling that I had completely wrecked the painting and had gone too far and that it had been perfect before I did this, that, and the other thing. On the second day I was ready to start over but thought I may as well keep working on it since I didn’t think that I couldn’t wreck it any further. Then it started to look okay. Then I decided to upload the photos that I had taken in process and to my honest surprise there was a real progression and it had gotten better and not worse.
I still think that the bottle is a bit overworked and therefore does not have the luminous quality of liquid in a bottle that I would have liked, but I guess I am still learning the medium.
This one was also a bit different for me because I used a photo to paint from. Whereas I usually paint from life, I was in the middle of making supper when I was struck by the assortment of junk on the dining room table and the reflections in the bottle (which is one part of the painting that I am quite pleased with); I didn’t have time to stop and paint and the light was changing so fast so I quickly snapped a photo. Working from a photo is always difficult for me. One thing that I tend to do is overwork it since I have all the time in the world to paint and am not racing the clock to get it done. Oddly enough, working from life I seem to make better decisions because of the fact that I am forced to work quickly–I am more economical in my decision-making somehow. Though one thing that working from photos does help me with is that I spend more time on the planning out the composition—something that I do need more practice with. The photograph also influenced the exaggerated sharpness of the bottle and softer background in this painting which I like.
A lot of mucking around on this one–lots of “erasing” with water and layering back up again. A bit too much playing since the paper in the background started to get a bit fuzzy, but it was fun; I learned a couple new things about working with watercolour and just how much you can work and rework areas (which is quite a lot…).
Tis the season for spiced rum and eggnog! I was having one the other day and thought, “What a beautiful bottle! And why have I not painted it yet?”. Three hours later at 2am I had this:
I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare them or why we find trompe-l’oeil so fascinating, but I almost always take a photo of my painting with my still life when I’m done (the bottom photo was taken at 2am under the kitchen lights so there is a warm tint to it).
I was very pleased with the tablecloth.
The Sunday Studio time seems to be becoming my watercolour painting time. It’s just so much easier than lugging around my acrylic paints—especially since I use the big tubs of acrylic paint. My painting bag seems to be getting heavier. (GAH! I’m getting old!)
The first one with the two jars was done pretty quickly. It’s nice and loose and I really like the transparency of the mason jar. The second one I spent a little more time on. Unfortunately I didn’t notice at the time that the roundness of the mouth is a bit off. Oh well, they’re all just studies right?
…And check out the fancy signatures! That’s for my mom :)
Finally did a “real” painting. In other words, an acrylic painting instead of a watercolour. And no flowers. When my mom visited last I showed her my “Blue Tulips” still life painting and I preempted the viewing with, “The bottle is great but the tulips are a bit of a mess.” Then she looked at it and said simply, “You always do well on the containers.” That’s when it occurred to me that I am maybe too stuck on including flowers in my still life paintings and should try doing just jars or vases. So that’s what this is.
The colour is a bit crazy—it reminds me of some things I did in University. At the time one of my profs told me that I used such terribly ugly garish colours together, but that it somehow worked. I was quite pleased with that critique.
The last week in June when all my perennials were in full bloom, I decided to set myself a goal and try to do 7 paintings in 7 days. I did manage to do 4 and 1/2 paintings in 5 days and then I kind of burnt out. I finally went back to finish the fifth painting and rework a background that I still wasn’t happy with.
Also, as a testament to my ultimate laziness, when I started the first painting I discovered I was out of white paint; rather than go buy some I decided to try painting without white. It was interesting to paint without white, and it made me realize that I may rely on it a little too much. The first painting became very moody with very rich colours, and it reminded me that one of my instructors had once said to beware of white paint since it can kill your colour.
So the first 3 paintings (the Snapdragons, the Lilacs and the orange background Snow-in-summer) were done without any white paint. Any white you see is the gessoed ground. This required a little more planning than I’m used to as well since I had to try not to cover any light reflections early on.
The whole project was an interesting exercise and for the final 2 paintings I decided to use white and found myself using it sparingly.