Mar 22, 2011

Saga of the ruined painting

I have an old painting that I started in my senior year of high school, which my then-teacher effectively ruined by painting upon it with her firm idea of what she thought I should be doing with it. Here is a picture:  

butterfly painting ruined by art teacher  

I used a photograph from some book for the fuschia flowers in the background; the butterfly in the foreground was something I added to fill in the picture.  My intent was for the butterfly to be sort of transparent.  My teacher was not fond of this idea and thought something needed to be added to liven it up or something I guess.  She used bright orange, purple and green.  sick  I don’t know what the heck she was thinking.  I tried lightening what she’d put down (it was pretty dark to start), but what you see in the photo was as good as I could get it.  If it was not obvious, watercolor was NOT her medium.   I was beyond ticked off.  I set the painting aside hoping to one day fix it.  Years passed, and after my parents dug my portfolio out of storage before they moved out of town, I found that the masking fluid that I’d used to save some white space for the water droplets (see the yellowed dots in the upper left corner on one of the leaves) had hardened.  Picking them off resulted in pitted paper.  I was rather sad, I figured it was a lost cause.  Still, I set it aside, hanging onto it. Move forward to about a month ago.  An art supply company, that specializes in mostly their own watercolors, but also offers their versions of acrylics and oils as well, in addition to other manufacturers products, came up with a product that supposedly would make any surface one that could be painted upon with watercolors - metal, wood, paintings that needed repair, etc., etc.  When the company had a free shipping sale, I jumped bought this product:  


Only this past weekend did I work up the courage to actually start applying it to my old ruined painting.  I think I may need to do some rough sanding on some parts of it (the large leaf in the upper left corner has obvious brush strokes from this ground stuff), but it covered pretty well. Now, I am in search of the mystery photo that I used for the original painting, as it is obvious to me now that many of the leaves could use some reworking. I found another watercolor artist in the world who had used the exact same photo in one of her paintings, and emailed her to ask if she could share the source of the photograph so I could complete my own painting.  I never received a response. I have NO clue what book this picture came from.  It was one that belonged to either the school or the actual watercolor art teacher (who I dearly missed my Sr year but conflicts with other classes prevented me from being in her class), it was not one of mine.  The year I started this painting was late 1991, to give you a reference. Does anyone out there happen to know what book this photo came from?  If you do, please drop me a line.  I would be ever so grateful!!!