Watercolor

Today’s watercolor is based on a lovely photo by Robin Sealark, who has very kindly offered her collection of reference photos to her Patreon patrons. She’s an artist with a very interesting YouTube channel and is responsible for the success of my very first oil painting (and why I decided it might be my favorite medium. Srsly check her out and subscribe):

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A few oils later, and it’s still my favorite. And those were student paints! I’ve already upgraded to Gamblin.

ANYWAY, back to today’s watercolor. I got home tired after the library’s annual Staff Development Day (which was somehow fantastic! The best yet!) and wasn’t in the mood to art. I had no idea what I was going to do, and her photos popped into my mind, so I looked through them until I found something inspiring.

I know this one isn’t my best. The sky is too dark and the perspective is a little off, but I’m okay with it because I powered through. By this time last year, I’d given up on finishing a painting a day (the main difference is that I’d only started painting a month before and everything was still new and difficult), so I’m already ahead. I really like the idea of doing some sort of art every day, though after this month it might be more likeĀ working on a painting rather than finishing it. I’m currently midway through a close-up poppy oil painting that I’d like to finish, but I’m putting it off until after Artober.

But hey! Eight days down, 23 to go.

Okay, so this was soooooo not what I was planning. Here’s what I was planning, except in oil:

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Is that not a beautiful sunset? It’s the special kind of sunset we only get after a good rain.

Why did I end up with a very dissimilar watercolor, you ask? The short answer is that I don’t have a pinky oil color to mix the sunset properly. My first solution was to use acrylics, but they dried too fast, and I got mad:

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MEH. Once you paint a gradient in oils, you’ll never want to try it with acrylics again.

So I figured watercolor was my best option. Except I’ve been lazy and using an old pad of Strathmore 4×6 postcard paper, and the paper isn’t really good, so I quickly ended up with an orange streak down the middle that you can see if you look closely. Hence the clouds which, granted, are also in the photo, though in smaller numbers. I was going to use gouache for the buildings and trees, but the random landscape happened because I was running out of time because (you guessed it) I have to work at the Revel tonight.

This one isn’t terrible. It’s generally okay, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve wanted to paint a hydrangea for a while now, but they intimidated me because I had no idea how to paint so many tiny flowers to make up the whole. I spent most of yesterday resting after the first Revel weekend on my sofa with the dogs, watching art tutorials on Youtube, and I saw this one by Shibasaki (everyone’s lovely Japanese grandpa) and decided that I just might finally be able to pull off a hydrangea.

I’ll let you judge my success for yourself, but I’m happy with it. It’s 4×6 watercolor on 140 lb paper. The trick appears to be to use a palette knife to scratch the surface of the paper and remove paint for the highlights. I want to try again because it seems like I had to damage the paper excessively to get the paint off. It probably had something to do with the fact that I used a pre-cut Strathmore watercolor postcard instead of my usual Arches.

Two days down, twenty-nine to go! That’s actually a lot…