The Third Experiment

I was able to work on this latest watercolor over the course of several days this week. And while I am happy that I made the effort, I think I like it least of the three. I picked several flowers from the beds and went from there.

Just the watercolors

After two sessions, this is basically what it looked like.  I was okay with the purple flowers and the background, but the yellow ones just got muddier the more I worked on them.  I decided to let it sit for two days and then see how I felt.  I was just dissatisfied enough that the pen and ink were looming in the background.  When I did come back, I felt that the yellow flowers needed more definition and I didn’t want to muddy them more, so I got out the ink.  Unfortunately, I got too carried away for the smaller flowers.  I think the ink must have bled a little more than I expected because it quickly overwhelmed them in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.  From there I had to add more ink into the background – more than I had intended and things kind of went down hill from there. 

After the ink overlay

I quit after a short while so I could look at the black areas the next day with a fresher eye and also tone them down with a little more watercolor.  I am not sure where I want to go from here with this painting.    The pictures actually look a little better than the painting itself.  I had to take them indoors under my daylight fluorescents because it is so hot and humid out that my camera lens fogged over outside.  I think that I may just let it sit for a while and maybe adjust the ink somewhat later in the week.  I do have two small 5×7 pieces of board left and will probably do something simple and quick on them.  Then I will probably feel like moving on to something else.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joy
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 14:46:22

    Thank you for writing about your creative process. I am always trying to push the envelope, but my husband has noticed I must be in the zone to create. For me the first ten minutes are crucial, it either happens or I should just walk away. A lesson I need to learn.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 15:51:57

    I feel the same way. If I can’t work for an hour there is no point. It doesn’t actually have to happen right away, but I have to keep at it. One time when I was doing a lot of cad drafting (blueprints), I finished and then moved to some artwork. I actually felt my brain shift from analytical to artistic. It was very odd, but now I know for sure I have to be in the zone. I can tell when it happens also when I lose track of time and suddenly two hours have passed and I didn’t notice.


  3. lesliepaints
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 01:52:25

    Hi Ruth,
    Are you unhappy with the shade of your yellow? If so, and you want a bright yellow, lemon yellow or aureolin may work for you. Yellows are hard to become accustomed to using. The raw sienna and quin gold or harvest gold are more toward the goldish yellows and the lemon yellow and aureolin are that brighter yellow.
    That said, I like your painting. It looks like a lovely vintage painting. Your explorations will pay off. I love your courageous spirit pushing on the boundaries of what you know and seeking those happy accidents that watercolor is so good at providing.


  4. ruthsartwork
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:29:31

    Thanks Leslie. I did try a bright yellow, but it was already too muddy. I think that color in my paints is too transparent to cover it. I still may mess with it later in the week.


    • lesliepaints
      Jul 21, 2011 @ 21:43:47

      Lemony yellows are usually very transparent. If they are not, their opaqueness can cause muddiness even faster. I still think you are doing great! Don’t stop this exploration. Check out some of the watercolors in the art gallery in Brown County and look at them closely…… Some of them are so gorgeous and you walk up to them and they look like just a bunch of different brushstrokes arranged a certain way. 🙂 I’m still trying to get rid of my “perfect bug”.


  5. ruthsartwork
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 21:51:29

    I have just about finished the next painting and I just used the brighter yellow. I’m a little bit happier with it and will post it later this week. I should browse over in Brown county one of these days. I too have that perfect bug. I think I am improving some though. I plan on taking a watercolor class this fall just to force myself to do something new.


  6. JC Strong
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 12:19:03

    Ruth thank you for sharing your journey. Although I paint on canvas panels with acrylics a nice change for me is DaVinci Watercolors they have some lush yellows.


  7. ruthsartwork
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 19:11:54

    Thanks JC. I’m always looking for tips on materials. I painted with acrylics for one class in college and have been thinking of trying it again. I’d have to buy all new however and I haven’t gotten around to it.


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