Saturday, October 13, 2007


Finally, I had some time to paint today. I found a few images on the sports page and did a few football ink with brush on phonebook warmup drawings. Then I continued working on my Charles Reid practice painting I had started in Las Vegas. I took all I needed to paint with me but I was distracted with family business so I didn't do much. I did sketch during the time I was sitting around waiting and on the plane coming home. I am getting better at utilizing those wasted moments by having a small sketch book with me.

I'm not that thrilled with the Charles Reid attempt but I did concentrate on focusing on the light shapes and preserving them and linking shapes of common value together. Also, I decided to leave a lot more white space than I normally do, as this is also part of his style. I realized that I am going to have trouble with alot of these images because I treated the paper with a diluted clear gesso. Reid's style (and that of many others I like) depend on an untreated surface so that the colors will mingle in a particular way. I am doing my practice pieces on untreated paper but I will have to just do the best I can on the big sheet. I really didn't think that one through!

While I was visiting my sister in Israel in September, I came across an old watercolor magazine printed in England. There was a woman featured in the magazine who just grabbed my attention. When I got home, I "Googled" her. What did we do before the internet? Her name is Shirley Trevena - and Amazon has a book by her called "Taking Risks with Watercolour" published by Collins. It was waiting for me when I got home! I absolutely love this woman's work. I read it in bed in two nights. Today, I decided to try some of her techniques on a practice sheet. I was trying everything I could think of so, naturally, things got out of hand. It didn't matter, because I was just testing and messing. She is into lines, texture, COLOR, value and composition. Everyone is turned on by different elements and different artists, but for me Shirley has the incredible blend of abstraction and realism that I am working towards. It is interesting challenge to translate what she does with flowers and still lifes into figures and faces . Anyway, I had a lot of fun playing around. I am posting a detail of a great technique described in the book. I have never come across this idea before, so I wanted to share. Using a piece of coarse sandpaper, hold it over a wet wash (or wet a section of the watercolor paper). Rub a watercolor pencil on the sandpaper and the granules will fall into the wet area and not stick to the dry paper. It makes a great texture and creates a nicely sharpened pencil as well!


RH Carpenter said...

I like both of these portraits, Myrna, but I don't see the "sloppiness" in your's that I see in a Charles Reid. Maybe you needed to paint on an easel and let the paint run and then splatter some more :) I've heard that you don't want to sit next to him in a workshop unless you are okay getting wet!

Myrna Wacknov said...

Rhonda, I have taken his workshop and you wouldn't believe what he does with his brushes. He wears a smock or painting jumbsuit type garment and wipes his brushes on them. He also shakes his brush after rinsing to get just the right amount of moisture. This works perfectly except it is a very dangerous practice unless you only paint outdoors or in a studio where you don't care about speckled walls. I decided not to get in the habit of flinging wet brushes around. It is fun to snap the brush loaded with some color at the painting for that careless look. I will do it in the "official" piece.

Nava said...

Sounds like you'll need to give up on that "Myrna Mix" for the Charles Reid look.

You've got very different moods in these two. The first is very dreamy and soft. The second one, while pondering (you ponder a lot, eh?), has more more energy. All those lines add a lot of excitement to it!

You make me wanna dip my brush in paint and go for my favorite artist!

Shawn Britton said...

We enjoyed viewing your work on your web site.
Check your profile, it gives your age as 1965.
Lisa dabbles in oils and pencil drawings once in a while.

- Shawn & Lisa Britton

Nancy Standlee said...

I love the line work in the Shirley T. piece, 2nd one down - very strong image. What method? Bamboo pen and India ink? Did you sketch first? I discovered the ST book in the Donna Zagotta workshop. A student behind me had it and I purchased it and am just now finding time to open it.

Myrna Wacknov said...

Shawn, I checked my profile data and I gave my correct birthdate so I don't know why they list me as being younger than Bill! Thanks for letting me know about this goof.

Nancy, I tried all kinds of tools on that painting. The India ink was applied with a sharpened wooden match stick I stuck into a pen nib holder with putty. I like the line it makes. The red lines were made with a watercolor pencil. It was nice and sharp from the sand paper. I drew the image on the paper with watercolor pencil before I stated to paint.

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