Friday, April 11, 2008


I am very excited about this painting! I covered a disaster of a watercolor painting with lots of gesso and textured the surface with wax paper brayered over the tackie surface. I could not find my Utrech Gesso (which is very thick) so I used regular gesso troweled on with a palette knife and left to dry. When it was still wet but not runny, I used the wax paper. I was trying to duplicate the surface of the last painting in the "Vern" series which had the most amazing texture. (Series on my website) The consistency of the gesso makes a big difference in the results. Anyway, I am pleased with the texture on this painting.

I only had a vague idea what I wanted to do with this painting. I started with one of my simplified drawings and drew those shapes on the painting using the oiler boiler from Cheap Joes with the walnut ink. It bounced and skipped over the surface leaving a line and lots of little droplets of ink. I let that dry. Then I started painting the large shapes with color linking areas together into larger shapes. At this point I was thinking about creating different textures in these larger shapes. With that in mind, I pressed some plastic wrap into the hair section on the left and let it sit for quite a while. When I lifted it off, it wasn't totally dry but the pattern was set. It is soooooo hard to have patience to let things dry in watercolor. I spritzed some on the right and blotted up the spray and I liked the texture that created.

From there I began painting back into the shapes. The image became more and more realistic and 3 dimensional. I have a difficult time letting things stay "flat" and decorative. The first colors I put down are showing through in a beautiful way. I think I have discovered a great way for me to start a painting. This surface is wonderfully liftable. I can work back and forth. The lifted areas have a soft edge and leave a little of the color behind. This is helping create a lot of depth.

The whole painting was done while the paper was totally flat so there is a visual distortion happening. When I was photographing it I kept it flat because there were still a few wet areas and I didn't want it to drip. When I angled the camera I distorted the image. This is more exaggerated than the eye sees but it is the same phenomenon. Notice how the eyes look properly positioned and the face isn't skewed in the second image. When the painting is viewed upright, the distortions become apparent. I like the distorted image a lot. I may try and do a painting from this perspective. In the meantime, I will make a few corrections on this one....move his eyes farther apart and make sure the features line up better

I have added a website to my links section that has all the details of the October workshop in Ocean Shores, Washington. This looks like such a beautiful area.


Nava said...

...and excited you should be - this is stunning! I still don't quite understand which is the more real version, but the distortion adds it a lot of character.,

Whatever you do, please Please PLEASE do not touch the hair on the left. I could just sit and gaze at it forever, but we're leaving on vacation tomorrow morning, and I have to get some sleep beforehand (it's 1am now...).

Ambara said...

I like the texture in the hair and the way it was done, I think I would like to try that, I also liked the distorted image as it gives it an unrealistic look.

Mariela Constantinidis said...

Very interesting!
I like your colors, they are full of emotions and the texture in the hair. I will link your blog to mine. Keep up!

RHCarpenter said...

This one really rocks! Love the textures you created with all the techniques you used.

Anonymous said...

I have been following yr. blog ever since seeing yr fantastic self portrait in Artists' mag.
It is the first I have heard of any one using Tyvak for watercolor.
You don't mention if you favor using a firmer surface when prepping for gesso.?

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