Friday, February 12, 2010

Discovering what I like about watercolor

At top are the guitar players that I have been working on / avoiding for so long. I have had a lot of questions for myself on this painting. Why do I want to paint it? Why is it taking me so long? Why can't I do it? Why am I having so much trouble with it? What do I do next? Normally when I paint flowers, landscapes, structures, it is a fun and short process. I don't always get a painting that sings to me, but, I never have the kind of trouble I am having on this painting. The reason why I first wanted to paint this is because I saw the photo and really liked the expressions and the body language of the band players. They are in an elevator, so the photo isn't a perfect photo, in my opinion. I truly believe that some photos are meant to be photos only and not painted. I am having trouble with this painting because I know one of the guitar players. I have been told it is much more difficult to paint someone you know vs. someone that you don't. So I have worked all around the painting avoiding the person's face that I know. Thanks to an artist friend, she encouraged me to go in with a dark background. I promise the day I did the background, it was really dark, although now it seems a midtone. I will go back with more washes. So now, I have time invested in this painting and I don't want to mess it up by ruining the faces. So I am avoiding them. Chicken!

What I have at least learned is that the way I like to experience watercolor is wet and loose. I find that painting on large paper allows for me to go wet into wet with colors side by side blending into each other to make a new color. I like clear, vibrant colors and I love high contrast - white as the white of the paper next to very dark.

I may not have achieved that in this painting, but, I have several ideas dancing in my hand where I can experience watercolor in this way. The subject matter is flowers, something that I am comfortable painting and that I love to paint because of the curves, turns and interesting shadows. But, I want to learn how to apply this technique to subject matters that I want to paint. My Friday painting group is not meeting right now and I am not taking any class or workshops so I feel as if I am in a rut, unless I paint, paint, paint and learn by trial and error. Also, I have been spending a lot of time looking at other artist's blogs. I have recently found several watercolor artists that I am so inspired by. Feel free to check out the artists that I follow on blogger.

On a happy note, everyone, look at our beautiful snow. We are actually snowed in today. This is so unusual for Dallas. I know in other parts of the country this would be nothing, but, for us this is a fabulous winter wonderland. If you go outside you hear this amazing sound of the snow melting and dropping from the trees. It is a peaceful whishing sound.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. It's just paper and paint until it all works together and feels like it is finished. And it's just another learning experience, some paint, and a sheet of crumpled paper if it never was meant to be. Paintings I start that don't begin to match the image I had of them in my head after the initial sitting, or by the end of the day, I usually scrap. If they don't feel right after a day, I find they keep me away from the drawing board the next day and sometimes longer. The excitement is gone and because it is still on the board I don't feel like I can start something new. I have learned to start a new drawing, even of the same subject more often then not I will have learned something from the first that makes the second try more successful. I see it the same as working out a design problem when the plan doesn't work, overlay some tracing paper and scribble something new on top and throw away the drawing where only the bathroom or the kitchen worked great.

  2. Oh Liana,
    Before reading your post I saw the painting and I liked it. In fact I liked it a lot. There is so much mystery in this painting..The looseness is very good. But I know as an artist with all those ideas in your head you'll be feeling like that.. But for me its a very good piece.

  3. I have just lost my comment! If I duplicate myself, please erase one of them! Liana, even though I am facing a sunny South African beach at this moment, I want to tell you that your snow looks wonderful! Snow simplifies the landscape, cleaning away all that is not needed!

    Your musicians have a great feeling of underlying tension. It is always good to leave the image uncompleted, as so much emotion can be felt by the spectator!I want to repeat Prabal's word: mystery, when I look at the painting!

  4. Liana,
    I hear you with the struggles on the guitar players but it really is coming out great. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog.

  5. wow! thank all of you for your help. i did put the guitar players aside and started a new painting. a blank piece of paper can make all those other problems go away!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your thoughts. I love hearing from you!