The Fun Never Stops

I hope this finds you dry.  I don’t mean that in an impolite way, it’s just that I live in the new monsoon kingdom of England where pretty much everything is soggy and damp at the moment.

In other news, I’ve started painting again…somebody alert the media!!!

The above two initial attempts at painting this friend of my son left me severely disheartened and frustrated by my dearth of technical skills.  At the end of the process I’d inevitably do something to ruin it.  Without formal training, making progress is difficult but, as someone once said; “Practice is the best of all instructors” so I’ve stopped sulking and here I am again.

Watercolour is one of the most challenging of painting mediums in that it is unpredictable.  The lack of control simultaneously thrills me and scares the pants off me.  Oh yes, I know how to have fun.

The following two studies taught me much about paint manipulation.  When attempting spontaneity and allowing the paint to do its own thing, it helps to be prepared for any eventuality.  Using a spray water bottle and kitchen paper allows for more control, as do loud yelps and sharp intakes of breath, although this does tend to startle the other people who live here.

With this first attempt, the darkest colour was painted first and when completely dry, lighter, transparent colours were glazed over.  This was in response to being educated by my friend Carol King on a fascinating process called Brunaille, except that this is in the wrong context and  I used blue instead of brown.  It was useful in helping me to appreciate the values of light and shadow.

The early stages look better than the finished version – the scanner makes it appear far muddier than the original and the poor girl appears to be in dire need of a shave.The second study below didn’t scan well either (honestly, not an excuse) – it is frankly clownish.Back to the drawing board.  I plan to paint numerous versions and strive to feel comfortable about giving a picture to the model; I can’t seem to quite ‘capture’ her.

Now if only I could channel my inner critic to help me perceive at what point to put the brush down and step away from the painting!  Less is more, stupid! So stop it.  I know you too are guilty of this.

You’re so glad you read this blog post, aren’t you? Admit it; I have enriched your life.

5 thoughts on “The Fun Never Stops

  1. Hey, she is back! Nice work and yeah, painting is a fickle fucking mistress, but that’s why we come back for more, right? She says up to her elbows in oil paint.


  2. Yep, artistic angst be gone! I’ve got my crayons back….run and hide! Dude, I’ve always considered you to be innovative but swapping your brushes for elbows takes it to a whole new level!


  3. YES! You have enriched my life. I’m so glad to see that you’ve posted. I’m very impressed that you are working on portraits and I think you’re doing a bang up job. I agree with you that watercolor can be both frightening and exciting since sometimes it has a mind of it’s own. (What? You don’t want a hard line here? Too bad, I’m making a hard line and there’s nothing you can do about it.! – watercolor)

    I also see a bit of the Charles Reid style in your portraits which I like very much. You have a lovely watercolor style! The first portrait reminds me of Grace Kelly.

    Here’s another technique you may be interested in: I used it on one of my city-scapes, but I think it may work on a portrait.


  4. Oh my goodness. I think these are really good! People can be painted in any color, really. I can identify with the yelps and intakes of breath. Portraits are the best at bringing on those outbursts. Good job, June!


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