Saturday, January 28, 2012

Work in Progress: Hide and Seek (Almost Done...) and a New Tulip Painting

A very busy day today... Not a lot of time available for painting, but I finally managed to squeeze in some after sun down. More work on "Hide and Seek" which I wish to finish today but finally did not manage to do. However, I did gather all the courage and attached one of the parts I considered most difficult for this one -- the out of focus leaves in front of the flower. I am quite happy about the out of focus look generated by the wet in wet brushwork and lifting. I love the color blending and mingling on paper making colorful greys. Fabriano Artistico Cold Press paper is wonderful in generating granulating and other wonderful results when being painted on wet-in-wet, however, since color lifts easily from this paper, for darker passages you mostly just get one shot for each region -- everything has to be completed before the paper dries, it is a bit nerve-wrecking... I'm just glad each time it turns out OK.

Hide and Seek,  Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 140# Cold Press Paper , 5"h x 7"w, WIP 8

Since I have the habit of pairing the finish of a painting with the start of another one, switching between loose application of underpainting and/or background colors, and tight handling of the finishing detail works, I began another tulip painting today. Half way into whipping various blues, greens and purples onto soaking wet paper, I realized that I have the habit of painting the dark background before my subject. I stopped to contemplate the possible reason for forming this unconscious habit -- Is it because I am secretly very nervous about the wet-into-wet dark backgrounds, and worry that I might ruin a whole finished painting if not getting them in first? Is it because of my method of painting -- by painting the dark regions first, I can correct and hard edges or inaccurate shapes by lifting colors off the boundary between the darks and the unpainted white regions, which would not be possible if the subject has already been painted in? The traditional watercolor method is painting from light to dark. My habit is obviously opposite to the norm -- or is it? How do other artists approach a light subject on a dark background?... 

Dancing Tulip III,  Watercolor on Arches 140# Rough Press Paper , 7"h x 5"w, WIP 1


  1. Hi Arena.
    Feeling like a pithed frog [gross] with a bad flu.
    Hide and Seek is fantastic! As for backgrounds, my technique seems to vary.

  2. I'm finding your color choices are really lovely and your darks are soft and deep - well done. As for painting the bg first, I think some do and some don't. You can always soften the edges of anything after painting with just a damp brush and clean water, tickling the edges a bit - but I don't see anything wrong with painting the darks first - then you have your whites and just need to add in some medium values and you're done :)


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