Aug 03, 2010

Exploring Watercolor

Ok, not so much "exploring" as jumping right in.  In July I talked about receiving a new book by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, which sparked my interest in picking up the watercolor brushes again.  I noted that this time, I wanted to use artist quality paper and paints. And so I went out and bought some. Artist papers and paints are not cheap, so I got two full sheets of Arches 140lb cold-press paper, a plastic board to staple it to after I wet it down, and a handful of Daniel Smith watercolors.  Since then I've picked up a few more paints, and now I have a total of 13 tubes of that brand.  But before I picked up the most recent tubes, I started a new painting of my daughter. I already posted the WIP pictures on my Facebook page, but I figured I would post it here too, for those not on my personal FB page. Here is the first picture: WIP Watercolor I started with a purple underpainting for shadows.  The bright orange stuff is masking fluid to cover her teeth and the highlights on her eyes. Next, I started adding some flesh colors: WIP Watercolor It was at that point where I took a break, a) because the weekend was over, and b), because I needed to buy some additional colors in order to even attempt to finish it - blue, for her eyes and the background, and especially red, for obvious reasons. 😊   I had pink but, it just wasn't cutting it.  It was great for putting the pink in her skin, but wouldn't fly for the shirt. So here is the last WIP, taken today but I stopped working on it yesterday evening: WIP Watercolor Still nowhere near done of course, and I'm guessing it will take at least another two weekends - since I don't work on it non-stop - to finish it.  And that is being optimistic, it will probably be sometime before the end of the month, if I keep up painting on it. I have to say though, so far I am happy with paying the extra money for better paper and paints.  The paper is much more forgiving at scrubbing, lifting and dabbing than the cheaper paper was (I used a small 4x6 block of cheap paper to practice on, and found it really was not inclined to much abuse).  And the paints, with the exception of one of the tubes, incidentally the most expensive of the bunch, I'm extremely happy with those as well.  They're bright, their transparencies are lovely, they mix well, re-wet well in the palette, and will last a long time on the paper.  I'm glad I made the decision to set aside the student quality stuff. I'm still waiting on a reply to my email to the manufacturer about the tube of paint I can only describe as bad.  The color doesn't match the "swatch" on their color brochure - instead of a bright vivid blue, it reminds me more of old denim.  The color itself would not be bad if that is what I had been expecting, but that is not what I used my 50% off coupon to buy, and I'm rather disappointed in it.  The color wasn't the only issue I had with it, it also seemed to have separated from its binder, so when the first squeeze came out, it was almost more binder than paint.  I am wondering if I'll hear back from them about it or not.  I sure hope they respond, they have dozens of other colors in this "theme" of paints in the higher price range that I would like to try, but the first experience with that type is leaving me wondering about the others.  I'm sure I just have a tube from a bad batch, so it would be nice if they would remedy it with a tube fresh off the line. So anyway, that's been my project as of late.  I'm trying to take it a bit slow so I don't mess it up too badly.