While I was in the Bay Area, I pulled out some old watercolor art to work on.
I can’t wait until I finish that one, and mount it on a nice piece of varnished wood… or maybe gold foil… or even just a nice, thick piece of black paper. Notice I cut all the background away with an Xacto knife.
But this piece of art is also interesting for another reason…
It doesn’t have a top or bottom. It isn’t oriented in any particular way…
I can hang it any way I want…
And even rotate it every day… see if anybody even notices.
I am sort of proud of that one. I did the preliminary sketch when I was in Rome, back in the 80’s. I wondered what the Coliseum would look like back in the day. Sorry about the shadows… I didn’t draw those. I mean, I did draw some of them, but not the two, long stripes.
Just practicing some eyes.
Yup, still working on that Morro Bay one.
Here is a tip. I think a lot of people are nervous about watercolor painting because they think you have to know how to draw. Yes, being able to draw gives you some real advantages for any kind of painting. But just using watercolors is fun. Just take a piece of paper, and a cheap brush and a cheap watercolor paint set, and sit down and start playing. Fart around. Have fun. Try doing background washes… don’t worry about getting the paper too wet. Let the colors run like crazy.
You can try making the bottom half of the paper green, and the top half blue… or shades of reds and pinks and purples. Let it dry, and all of a sudden, you have a background. But here is something else you can try…
Get yourself a coloring book… not the little kid ones, that paper is too absorbent… and cheap… but I found a civil war coloring book at a store once.
A coloring book lets you skip over that whole ‘but I can’t draw’ thing. You get to start right in with the painting. Another tip. I did a pink wash for the sky in the picture above. Always do the background… especially the big part… first. Work on another picture while that dries.
The thing about this method is that right away, the picture starts to pop… to come alive… as soon as you begin to add colors. And you can work on shading and highlighting if you feel adventurous. Notice that I took a lighter and burned the edges of some of these. I am going to stick them up in the garage, and tell myself they were found in the memorabilia from some civil war artist.
This isn’t cheating… it’s practice! You aren’t selling these to the freekin’ Louvre. It is just so you can get used to using the right amount of water and paint on different kinds of paper. Some paper absorbs the water, and the colors bleed, but you can either use this, or use less water, or dab the brush on a paper towel after loading it. But notice how that Confederate soldier in the foreground is starting to look like he has depth and dimension, just because I made the paint a little darker where I thought the shadows should be.
Try painting on different parts of the picture while other parts dry, because if you paint beside wet parts, you might have trouble.
That one is barely started. I think I used a little blue glitter glue in the water to make sparkles. This one will be cool because the only bright colors will be on the flag, and some yellow for the firing canon in the far ship, half hidden in the smoke.
Maybe next time I get these out, I will work on one, and take step-by-step pictures, so you can see the progress. This time, I just did a little work on a bunch of pictures.
So go out there and add some color to the world!