Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hidden Path (30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: Day 5)

Hidden Path, Watercolor on Arches140# Rough Paper, 6"h x 8"w, 2013 #6


This is the painting that gave me much problems a couple of days before, and caused the frantic wipe-outs in the end. I tackled it again today after some hesitation, deciding that if it fails again, I will leave it alone and start again some days later, instead of trying to wipe it off and repaint to save the paper -- after all, it is just a piece of paper! (That said, the Mr. Clean magic eraser sponge really works wonders, and all of you watercolor painters who wants to repaint a failed passage on a overall good picture should definitely try it!) Well, maybe it is the relaxed attitude, maybe it is the failed practice runs a couple of days ago, maybe it is the fact that I've accumulated quite some mileages on my brush in the past few days, it went smoother than before. Maybe I am still not totally satisfied with the results, but I liked it enough to put it here to share with you, my friends...

When I first finished this painting, it looked like this:

However, it somehow just did not look right to me. I could not tell why so I put it aside and went out to my gallery for the hanging of our upcoming show, "New Year, New Work". And when I came back to look at it with a fresh eye, I immediately realized -- the little sapling in the foreground was way too dark and therefore did not read to be at a distance from the viewer comparing to the fence posts on the right. I took a soft squirrel hair brush and gently wet the sapling, waited a couple of seconds, then dabbed it with a facial tissue -- just enough color came off and it instantaneously read as "receding". Nothing speaks of spacial relationship more than value changes -- strong value contrasts tend to advance while diminished value contrasts speaks of atmospheric perspective and distance. I did a bit of subtle cosmetic work like this in the fence posts to lighten them respectively and the image now reads much better as a misty, snowy winter day... What do you think?

... Well, I just could not help doing this -- redo this painting another time. I eliminated the wires on the fence to create a more time-worn feeling, which I think suits the overall mood better. I am also happier with the wet-in-wet shapes of the trees better this time -- but that's just more of a happy accident than any skill improvement I guess... :-P

Hidden Path (Version 2), Watercolor on Arches 140# Rough Paper, 5"h x 7"w, 2013 #7

You can purchase my 2013 wall and desk calendars here:


  1. you have such an eye! the subtle change you made is incredible! beautifully done arena!

  2. I've had such fun looking at your paintings today. Your work is amazing! Looking forward to seeing much more. Happy painting!

  3. Thanks Suzanne and Darla! You are very kind. I am totally enjoying this challenge -- it gets me out of my comfort zone and paint with more abandon. The results are not always what I have imagined, but in a way only for the better! Sometimes I know the little changes may not be evident to anyone else but me, but it was sort of fun to nitpick your own work sometimes... I just have to remember not to overdo it...


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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