Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have a plan...

No painting done today... although I prepared one for later this week. Watercolor painting is 80% planning and 20% execution (varies depending on your style). These are the steps I take to get started:

  1. get inspired... I keep a e-folder and several folders for "Paint Soon" material. I find that there must be a connection for me to place anything into these categories.

  2. decide on orientation (landscape/portrait), size and format (square, etc). To do this I usually make a black and white photocopy of the subject.

  3. The black and white copy helps me see interesting patterns of lights and darks or boring patterns that need to be changed. I mark the photocopy up with changes, edits, etc. Often I have to include a sky from one photo with a landscape from another photo. I've been doing this on Corel (easier than photoshop) and it works out well. These first three steps are almost "pre-planning" and happen organically as life goes on. Ideas flow freely to the open mind.
  4. At this point the altered reference material is ready to be drawn up and transferred to the watercolor paper. This can take an hour if there are lots of alterations to the references.

  5. With the drawing complete I now turn to planning the painting steps. I'll consider different techniques (wet on dry, wet on wet, direct, negative/positive, glazing, masking,etc) that I'll use, the color scheme, etc. often I make notes on the white tape around the painting as to what my "next steps" should be. [That's the stage that the painting in this photo is at... waiting to do the painting].
  6. Executing the painting takes FAR less time than the rest of these activities if you are working in watercolor. I call it "the show" because it happens quite quickly and there are always surprises. There are folks that MUST be in control of their painting process and if it doesn't happen, they become frustrated and give up. A better approach is to withhold judgement on the "surprises" and come back to them in the next painting session. Often a solution to a problem or a way to incorporate the "surprise" that improves the painting yet pops into mind. I love that part... It reminds me of how God works in our lives. We have a plan, we begin executing it. Surprises happen, we freak out, God steps in to the plan and takes the "surprise" and makes it a wonderful part of our life - His painting.

  7. Flexibility, cooperation (me with the water), enjoyment of process, these are the things that make watercolor a great creative medium.

I'm off to Sunshine Meadows to paint and putter tomorrow. A friend is driving and I'll be able to relax and enjoy the trip. We'll be home by around 3pm. It should be lovely! Have a great day!


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