Friday, January 29, 2010

Watercolor paintings from the live model. Practice practice practice!

I was lucky enough to paint from the live model for two nights in a row.  Sometimes that is a great way to really start to see WHAT you are doing -  right and wrong!  I used watercolors both sessions on a very thick (200 lb) watercolor pad, which was new for me - up until now I have been using either Wallis paper or lighter watercolor pads.  The 200 lb paper hardly warps at all!

The first picture is about 25 minutes, very loose, not too much detail.  I was trying to keep in mind - work large and light, slowly add your darks and intense colors.  I did not sketch with pencil, just went right in with paint.

The second drawing, same viewpoint, is a bit tighter (maybe I was tense because we were listening to Obama's State of the Union address while we worked...you never know...) and I started with watercolor pencils, sketching the figure first, then adding washes of paint. I liked it until I started playing with her profile too much.  Unless the face is spot-on, it's very distracting.  I should have kept it a bit more mysterious.

The next evening I did draw one 20-minute pose with periwinkle charcoal pencil - this was a beautiful back view with lovely shadows.  The weight of the figure did not feel "right" until I established the position of her feet and their cast shadow on the carpet.

Next I painted for about 30 minutes, starting very soft and slowly building colors.  While I'm not thrilled with the final result, I did start to pay more attention to how the layers of color work together - a light wash of crimson lake over the cobalt blue made a gorgeous purple...vermillion over veridian made beautiful shadows on her torso.  I remember experimenting with paint way back in my first oil-painting class - mixing colors in a chart and layering different mixes on top of each other to see what happened.  I need to do that away from the model - just PRACTICE layering the colors.  It's not like working in pastel, where I know how the colors will work together.

Since that first painting felt a little tight, I just shifted my viewpoint a little and started another piece, this time trying to be more abstract, letting myself enjoy the paint rather than try to control everything.  I like it.  The photo is not great, the colors are a fresher and brighter in person. (this is not an invitation for you to come and see it in person...I'm just letting you know)

Finally for the last 20 minutes I moved toward the back of the model, quickly capturing the beautiful light and shadow on her back.  My whole approach was lighter and less tense...I didn't have much time, so I just went for it! I chopped off her head because it was - well - awful - but this part is not too bad!

Practice, practice practice :)

3 comments:

Craftomania Tools said...

these are amazing!

krystyna81 said...

thank you :)

pegi said...

Even within the parts you dont like there is amazing light and darks, shapes and my eyes move over the entire piece. I love them....your colors are always so much fun!!