Friday, January 8, 2010

Anatomy of a Painting - Part 3.1

Ok, here we have white as the majority, gray as the next, and black for accents (although I got a little carried away.) This is more in keeping with my current preferences in watercolor: a high key, lighter value painting overall. This does not mean that all that white will not be painted, it just means it will be light value color.

So, am I ready to hit the "real" painting? Not quite. I still have to fool around with a color sketch, or I will fall prey to my tendency toward a crazy quilt of disorganized color.

Perhaps this is a good time to discuss why I do all this advance planning. One art friend thinks I over-analyze and pick it to death before I even start. Might be true, but I think the other end of the spectrum (just jumping in and praying for a good result) is just as foolish. One of the reasons for doing all this preparation before painting is that, with many problems solved ahead of time and a guide/map to follow, I can concentrate on my favorite part of painting-- a loose, juicy paint quality. Also, watercolor is often called "unforgiving" because it doesn't lend itself easily to corrections or changes as with oil, pastel or acrylic. If folks using these mediums find themselves boxed into a corner, they can just scrape it off or paint over it. Watercolor can be scrubbed off or removed with a variety of tricks, but the surface exacts a price, which is usually fresh, clean color. Since that is what I like the very best about watercolor, it makes sense for me to do what I can to avoid problems ahead of time.

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