Category Archives: Watercolor

A watercolor question

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I’m wondering, specifically about taking a photo and then making a painting from it.

Isn’t  the photo enough?  What does the painting add to the experience?  We have the advantage of photography as an art form now.  Why do we paint then?  I can understand the artist is expressing his vision of reality.  Maybe that explains abstraction.  Does the painting mean more than the photo?

Have I totally confused you?  I sure would welcome your comments.

With that said, I did have fun composing a still life to photograph and then, paint:

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Here is my finished painting:

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I learned  much by completing this painting, so in that it has value.

Here are a few  quotes I found on the subject:

All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this–as in other ways–they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it.  -John Berger
I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence.  -Man Ray
The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.-Susan Sontag
Yes, construct, not just disclose.
Have a great Sunday!

Beginner’s Watercolor Experiments

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I haven’t had much time to mosaic or play around with art lately.   I’m a happily involved grandmother of 4, and caretaker of my aging parents.  This and all the other good stuff of living, doesn’t leave much extra time.   We are adjusting to a household without any furry companions to love.   I’m sure some day, sooner or later, a sweet dog or cat will find us.   But in the meantime, we are busy enough around here. 

But, I do get a little depressed and blasé if I don’t have a project to work on.  Watercolor is what I am turning to these days because it is quick and portable. 

I’ve had a couple lessons  with Jean Canavan over at 212 Arts Center…she is a wonderful teacher and is helping me get more  comfortable with watercolor expression. I’m taking baby steps and enjoying the process of learning something new.. I’m learning to see the world in a new way,…really looking at shapes and colors. 

I’ve learned that watercolor is layers and layers of washes with each layer blending and enhancing the previous.  Keeping light areas light, and being subtle with colors in the early phase of painting do not come natural to me….but too dark areas frustrate me as I try to complete a painting and want contrast.   I’ve learned its much easier leave an area white rather than try to lift the paint off.    Below is an experiment on layering just one color, yellow ochre,  to get depth of color:IMG_5033_thumb[4]

Related to layers, depth, and shading, is the ability to make round things actually look ROUND, not flat.  I first experimented with apples…..

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This is the last one, the one I like best:  (Yes, it was a funny shaped apple.)

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Jean suggested I paint “eggs”….I wrinkled my nose at this challenge thinking it would be boring.  But I am having fun with it and want to keep going.  The first egg painting is at the bottom right, and the last painting is top left.  I think I’ve gotten better at making them look round and became more expressive as I worked on these:

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I recommend learning a new skill!  Its exciting!  I’ll post my further watercolor explorations next month.  No hurry here, just going slow and enjoying the process.  

May 6, what I’ve been doing….

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Lately, a little art time is all I can muster.  So watercolor has kept the fire burning for me.  I’m keeping up the morning ritual of marking the days with tiny  drawings:

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I’m also taking a watercolor class at 212, “Painting Big”, using a whole (or, for me, a half sheet of paper, about 18 x 24)…..and learning so much. Here is my unfinished painting of tulips….will take another couple weeks of class to finish her up:

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But mostly, the out of doors is a magnet right now….

It’s spring fever…. You don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Mark Twain

I do know what I want…sunshine on my face, grubby fingernails, the deep sleep that working outdoors promises.  I’ll even welcome the sneezing and watery eyes that May brings.

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I’ve had excellent luck with bargain bins at Home Depot and Lowes…..

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I am on the lookout for  May blooming flowers.   So far I’ve found pinks, columbines, perennial salvia, and creeping phlox all on clearance.  Love the opportunity for mass plantings rather than a meager plant or two.

I also found these little miniature daffs….”Tete-A-Tete Narcissus”.  Love them, they grow only 8 inches tall and spread like crazy.  They were bursting out of their pots, ready to be divided:

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Grow little plants,  multiply and live long…..

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Looking forward to the end of the week with summer-like warmth.  You will know where to find me.