Thursday, March 10, 2011

Watercolor on Gessoed Paper

I was lucky enough to get to take a watercolor workshop at Pratt this past weekend with my younger son.  I wasn't sure which way he would go when I suggested that I sign him up with me, but he didn't hesitate to say yes, which I thought was awesome.  He was the only male and the only youth/young adult, and the instructor said she thought he was brave (?!) to do it.  Regardless, he liked the class a lot and I thought I was the luckiest mom on earth.

The class was all about painting with watercolors on gessoed paper.  You can get some pretty intense colors out of your watercolors this way, AND you have more of a chance for do-overs since you can wipe your paint back off.  To varying degrees.

This is my first painting, which makes me nauseous. But it was a learning experience -

The smaller I make the image, the better, as far as I'm concerned (it's really ~7x11").  The photo makes more contrast in the background than there really is.  And the pink?  Not my marks - the instructor added them.  I've not had that happen before!  Ever.  Anyway, this wretched painting gave an idea for how to tackle the beautiful moonflower in a different way next time, so all is well.  I think it would have been a better one to do on regular watercolor paper.

Version #1 - The instructor pointed out that I was certainly painting like an oil painter.  But I was enjoying the brush strokes.  I tried to work "juicier" in the middle and bottom but this amazing Quinacridone Gold bunched up and looked like strong brush strokes on its own anyway.  I'm learning.  I hate the lighter colors added onto the black at the base.  That was a suggestion, and I should cover it over...  It looks like reflections/ripples in  this photo.

Version #2 - Tried to stay looser and juicier.  I also tried to make the silhouettes look less like buildings and more like the rocks that they are.

I was working from a copy of the photo below. Our instructor encouraged us to feel free to "adjust" (my word) our subject and not worry about it being exactly true to life, which is a very freeing idea for me to always keep in mind.  When I looked back at the original photo again, it just makes me want to experiment more with the colors and the glowing light in this photo - 

Maybe I shouldn't have put the photo on here, because it is so superiorly gorgeous!!  If anyone wonders why we keep going back and going back to Utah's redrock country, this is a great example of why.  This photo was taken at the Golden Stairs camping area in the Maze District of Canyonlands.

1 comment:

Holli said...

Love version 2! Watercolor on Gesso, does that keep the paint from soaking into the paper? Sounds hard!