Sunday, February 6, 2011

Water, water everywhere....

and not a drop to drink!  But there's plenty to splatter on my painting, my shirt, my neighbor's painting, my reference pictures and ...well, you get the idea.  Watercolor is SOOOOOOOOOOOO different than oil painting.  You'd think that there would be some crossovers.  After all, both use brushes to put color on a surface...and even the names of the colors are the same!  But as I am learning in Jeannie Vodden's watercolor portrait workshop, common color names is right where the similarity ends.  As I've mentioned before, I am not completely new to watercolor, but it's been so long since that earlier foray into washes and sable that it might as well have never happened.  As I watch Jeannie's carefully applied washes I marvel at her control...the way she moves the color down the paper, adjusting it as she goes - warm here, cool there - never breaking the momentum.  Back at my station, my oil painting hand takes over and I work back into washes and marvel at the unplanned blooms that result.  My wash dries before I'm done washing, and although I know I can't do it, I inevitably work back into still wet passages.

I know that Jeannie's careful, even meticulous style is not something I'd ever master, but she is a great teacher, patient, full of information freely shared, and very encouraging while being totally honest. I'm enjoying the if only I could paint a watercolor.

Here's a little sketch of Howard Rees.  I started out using Jeannie's methodology, but in the end, I went back to my oil roots and violated just about every rule in watercolor.... transparency and spontaneity be damned!

First some light "rainbow washes"
Then glazing to add form

Then revert to Oil Painter

OK, so I need to re-work on one of the eyes a bit.  So would someone tell me how to do that in WATERCOLOR??!


  1. Great water color study,it is very encouraging to see someone who is never to old to learn ,gives someone like me inspiration to try new techniques in my art and to learn new things.

  2. Hi Roger,
    Thank you for the kind comment. I know there are two schools of thought on this issue of diversification. One is that an artist should concentrate on and master a single approach...but the other is that experimentation awakens the artist soul. For me the watercolor 'experiment' is pure exploration and energy. By the way, your blog is marvelously done...and what an incredible place you live in and record in your work. Breathtaking!

  3. Hi Bruce, I just wanted to say knowing Howard you did quite a nice job with his portrait. I know nothing about watercolor but it looks like you are in good hands with Jeannie.