Saturday, January 25, 2014

Loose, relaxed brushwork I

There is such a temptation to over-work a watercolor painting. The inclination to make it 'perfect,' or to work towards something approaching photo-realism, is difficult for me to resist.  I've tried everything to break these habits -- including holding my brush in the 'other' hand (for me, a lefty, that would be my right hand...) -- but I still find that I drift unwittingly in the direction of too much control.

I have always liked to draw, and yet I find that attempting to render, realistically, with watercolor, is a perhaps one reason my work can look over-done and stiff.

One solution is to stop drawing and simply paint -- no pencilled-in guidelines, just water and lot's of juicy color. In the case of this floral painting, I gave free reign to the pinks and yellows, hoping they would mingle on the paper and create interesting depth and shadows.
Boston Winter   SOLD
I sometimes carry a tiny travel box of watercolors with me when I know I might have some time to sketch. This view of the Christian Science Church in Back Bay was done quickly one Friday when I was on my way to Symphony Hall. I hope that what it lacks architecturally is made up for by its lively colors and the chilly feel of all that snow covering the reflecting pool.

Resting Swan    SOLD
This painting done from a photo taken at the Public Garden in Boston last summer, was an enjoyable challenge. Because I didn't draw the shape of the swan, but relied instead on the water surrounding her to make a 'swan' shape. The addition of shadows and a bit of reflection made it complete.

Think Spring!
After the winter we've been having, how could anyone NOT want to think about Spring?? I hoped that juxtaposing bright colors would be effective and not too weird. I think it worked, because I sold this painting a few weeks ago.

Jack, study
My brother-in-law, Jack, is an avid hunter and fisherman. Each autumn he heads north to Maine to enjoy all that the North Country has to offer. My sister sometimes joins him, and took the photo from which I did this quick little sketch of him standing in front of some blazing orange maples.

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