There are times when painting is difficult and there are times where it’s near impossible. Either way it would not seem right if it did not challenge me. The watercolor at left was done in my sketchbook during a weekday. I worked from several photos I took at Battery Park. When the weekend came I started a larger painting based on the same photos.
I started the painting on a 22.5” X 15” sheet of 300 lbs. cold pressed watercolor paper. I began with a very careful light pencil drawing which took me most of the day to do. After I completed the drawing I decided to try masking fluid, something I rarely do. I applied it to the areas that I wanted to leave white. It turned out to be a very bad, near disastrous mistake. The bottle of masking fluid was very old so when the gummy liquid dried it stained the paper a bit and proved difficult to lift off.
I first tried to scrub areas clean. When that didn’t work I began to use an exacto knife to scratch out areas and then I painted over those areas with casein white paint. I also used the casein white to cover the stains that where left behind by the masking fluid.
A lot of work and a lot of fight went into this painting and I’m not sure how I feel about the finished painting. I like some passages in the painting but I hope the whole painting works and not just a nice bit of painting here and there. I think I have to live with it for a while to decide if I really like it but there is honestly nothing more I want to do with it at this point. It either works or it doesn’t.
The detail on the right shows signs of the fight I had with this painting. Scratching out the bearded area actually left a nice texture to the beard. Still I would have rather painted in the texture than to show the signs of struggle.