Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finding Something I Want To Paint

Last couple of years I've gone to the park on my lunch hour to paint. This year I find that I'm not as enthused about painting in the park. Maybe I need to change location, find another spot to paint, or I may just need to start painting and find my enthusiasm as I work.

I have a few strategies when it comes to finding the motivation to paint. The first is to just sketch or doodle knowing that at some point I'll get more involved in what I'm doing and begin to plan a painting. The other is to read a work of fiction and find images in the writing. Another is to look through art books at the work of artists that I admire. Lastly, but most importantly, is just to have the discipline to continue to work and find my enthusiasm as I work.

I continued to doodle through out the week and I walked to the park with my watercolors hoping to find something that would cry out to be painted. On my way out of the park I saw the flute player who I painted last year. I took some photos of him to use as reference when I got home.

Now that I have something I want to paint I should be able to work through my lack of enthusiasm, or at least be able to start on that path. I think that taking some time to look at art would help as well, anyway I have something to work on.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Big Picture Part 2, What Did I Learn

Cropped version of the painting
The painting on my easel

Finally finished the large watercolor I started a week ago. The painting is done on 22X30” 90 lb. cold press watercolor paper.

I started out this piece with a lot of enthusiasm,but that enthusiasm began to wane about midweek. I was resolved to finish it even though I saw that it wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. The main reason for this was because I knew there was a lesson in this painting, if I just get through it I can think about what I might do better next time.

It was the first time I painted a watercolor this large. Most of what I had painted were no bigger than 14 X 17”, most were 8.5 X 10”. Working in this larger size I found that even though I thought I had made a careful drawing of each figure to start I wound up having to make a lot of corrections in proportions by the time I got to painting the central figure. Earlier on I needed to pay more attention to my drawing on this larger sheet of paper. I had lost control of drawing the group, one figure in relation to another, and I also lost control of individual proportions. I noticed the arms in the central figure were to long, (the left arm might still be a bit to long), and that’s where I made most of the corrections and the paper took a real beating. Even though the paper was light weight it held up pretty well to all the scrubbing and lifting of paint I had to do. When the paint stained the paper and I could not lift out the paint I painted over the area with casein titanium white then redrew the area and painted over the white.

I had trouble with the background too. In hind site I should have planned it better. I had to omit a lot of detail because I felt it would be too distracting but I’m not sure that what I left in explains itself well enough to read as a subway station.

The first thing I did right was make a thumbnail sketch of the composition before I started, I should have followed up with a color sketch. Although I did watercolor sketches of the individual figures a small color sketch of the composition would have helped even more. I might have made different choices for the color and the drawing of the background and of course the figures.

Another change I would make if I had to do it over again is to paint the thing on a heavier weight paper, 300lb. Although this paper held up well it would have been easier to make the corrections on the heavier paper.
Right now I don’t know exactly what I feel about the painting. Is it worth keeping or should I throw it in the trash? It didn’t come out as I wanted, that’s the biggest disappointment. However, it’s a step ahead for me because of its size and I like the way some of the figures came out individually if not collectively, (the later being more important). If anything it serves as a marker for what I would do better next time.