Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taking Risks

"Watching the Red Sox"
8" x 8"
(watercolor on cradled aquabord)

I took a little detour from my Amsterdam paintings to work on a couple of gifts. While I haven't yet delivered them, I'm pretty sure the recipients don't follow me online, so I think I'm safe. And yes, that's a priest.  :)  Our dear Parish Pastor, Father Fitzgerald, has retired after 30+ years and we are all sad to see him go. He and his loyal sidekick, Sister Angela actually look a lot like these Fisher Price people -- Father and Sister are the cutest, most adorable little people I know . . . and one of the great teams in history. 

Anyway . . . I did a painting for each of them . . . this one is for Father. But there is a painting lesson in here that I wanted to share with you. Take a look at the version of this painting mid-way, below:

It's horrible! The reference image had the background darker, and in shadow, so that is what I aimed to paint. And if you are familiar with the Fisher Price toys of this era, the blue on the walls is a weird, almost dirty looking blue. Too often I succumb to being a slave to the photo -- something I am really striving to avoid these days . . . but alas, I was sucked in and my painting was lifeless and dirty looking.  There was no way I could continue it like this. I would either have to do something drastic or start over.  So I went "drastic" and decided to wash off the background. (This is one of the perks of aquabord.)

To the sink I went . . . and carefully holding the board under the running water, only where I wanted to "erase," I began to get rid of the majority of paint in the background. The Winsor blue is a staining pigment so I knew it wasn't all going to wash off, however, I wanted to leave a ghost image so I knew where to re-paint. 

Luckily, it worked like a charm and I could revise the background.  I brightened it up, making new decisions about what the painting needed as opposed to what the photo was showing me.  

So I validated two valuable lessons here (I say "validated" because deep down I know these things, I just don't always apply them):

1)  Let your painting speak to you . . . and be sure to listen. It will tell you where to go and what it needs.  Don't just paint your reference photo.

2)  Take a risk on a painting that isn't working. The worst that can happen is you start over . . . the best is that you salvage something that would never have worked in the first place.

Thanks for popping by.  Tomorrow I will share the painting I did for Sister Angela.  :)

1 comment:

  1. So cute,Kara! Love those people of yours!Glad you can share with real people that have blessed you! Sweet gift. Enjoy the continual blooming of your talent and thanks for sharing!


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