Friday, March 14, 2014

Slowing Down

"Bonnie's Dogs" - Watercolor

I've been meaning to do this portrait of my friend's Boxer dogs for a very long time and I could finally get to it.  This painting is the last on my "To Do" list in a long line of commitments I put myself in - why do I do it?   My dear friend has been going through sad times and I thought mailing this to her would surprise and cheer her up!

The painting is done in transparent watercolor with layers of washes, unlike my usual mixing of watercolor and liquid acrylics to get that quick saturation of colors. Getting a little experimental, I used non-local colors in the dogs jowls with a bit of green and red for the side-glancing dog on the left, and purple and blue for the sweety on the right. I'm taking what I've learned from Mr. Nuttall, and that is to be very patient, to look carefully and analytically, and to paint very slowly and deliberately.  His art looks so spontaneous and free, but surprisingly, it is not. Rather, he paints in a very carefully, controlled manner, and he may spend at most 2 hours a day on a single painting. This means a watercolor painting could take weeks to complete. My boxer painting  is only 6.5" x 8" and it only took me 4 hours to complete.  After blazing through a lot of mail art- where you must edit and be quick, I think I could have done this portrait better had I slowed down even further by abstracting every miniscule detail.  

I have a lot of old family black and white photos that will be perfect to use as painting references.  It'll force me to find my own colors and expression. I have some ideas of paintings to do and, in the meantime, I'll be reading and studying the book "Painting People in Watercolor - a Design Approach" by Alex Powers. It's about painting portraits with great ideas on design and about "lost edges" and how to use them effectively.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

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