Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's In the Blood

August late afternoons, sitting on the shady back porch enjoying the late season flowers, the bird song, and the velvety air, is a prime time for reflection.  One recent afternoon, I began reflecting on painting, as in, 'why in the name of heaven am I following such a crazy, unstable career path??  My conclusion is that it is in the blood.  My Grandfather was apparently  a talented artist who steered his career into that of a skilled craftsman  working with wood.  My cousin on the other side of  the family was a very successful Commercial Artist who had his own Commercial Studio and employed several  artists.  And so to me.
My particular field is Domestic Animal Art - a bit of a hard sell, but I'm doing OK with that.  I LOVE dogs, cats, and horses - they are in my heart and they are what delights me.  My mediums of choice are graphite and my beloved watercolors.    I've tried acrylics (still use them a bit) oils and pastels, (the dust and odors were too hard on my lungs) and colored pencils, which I really enjoyed, but my hands finally said 'Enough!'.  But all the while, I kept coming back to watercolor.  I love the light, airy brightness and lively darks you can achieve in this medium.  I love the misty quality you can get, if that is your aim.  I love the lack of odor and the quick clean up, and the paint that dries and waits politely in the tray until you're ready to paint again, and with a little bit of water, they are ready to go too.
At this stage, after trying all sorts of mediums, I prefer to do my experimenting within the medium itself.  One of my favorite artists, Canadian Trisha Romance, paints with a very limited palette, mixing all the colors she needs from the three primaries plus sepia.  I had to give it a try, and this little rough sketch was the result.

Obviously, the drawing was minimal, it was the color that I was after, and I was quite surprised at what I was able to accomplish with only  red, yellow, blue, and a touch of sepia.  But that was just to see if I could do it.  I am in love with color, and have nearly the whole range of Winsor Newton pigments.

I use a range of brushes too.  Not the multiple jars of brushes you see in a television show featuring an artist, which always makes me giggle.   No one needs THAT many brushes!  Well, OK, I have 4 jars.  One is filled with brushes that my mentor left to me, and as they are oil brushes, I keep them for remembrance and luck, and only use a few of them for acylics.  I have a jar of acrylic brushes, a jar of old, (some worn out, some very cheap) watercolor brushes, and then I have my treasured, working watercolor brushes.

I have the very tiniest sizes for the details and the larger brushes for the washes.  The larger Winsor Newton brushes are capable of doing some very small detail, but it is easier and faster using the tiny brushes.  But the smaller brushes are totally incapable of holding enough water or paint to do a decent wash. These brushes are like extensions of my fingers  :0.  I don't let anyone else use them.
And now, the lure of my paint table calls, and I'd better get to work. I get SO FUSSY if I can't work.  Just ask my cat and the dogs - oh, and my husband, lovely, patient man that he is. :0

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