Thursday, October 7, 2010


One of these days I will be happy with a portrait I do.  But this isn't one of those days.

Oh, well, still practicing to get it right.  (If I'm not better and happier with this stuff in a year, I'll give up and leave the portraits to others who do it better.)

I began tossing paint at the large sheet of Arches cold press #140 - and had a nice start.  But then ruined it. biggie, this is definitely a learning experience, painting bigger on the wall with fluid acrylics!  So, turned it over, gessoed the paper, and began again.

Things I have already learned:
1.  You still have to have a plan when painting this way.
2.  I am not an intuitive painter, being able to pull something out of nothing but color on the paper.
3.  If you work with too much water, you will get drizzles and puddles and you can't control all of them all of the time.


Back to my Yellowstone photos and combined 4 of them into a cruciform shape that should make a good painting (design-wise).  And began by working from the background forward...and trying to control the water-pigment ratio a little better.  No throwing paint on this one - the texture and color will be all in the foreground and will be easier to let the water and pigment flow towards the bottom of the painting.


Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

Good grief, Rhonda! What a challenge you have set for yourself! But, also, what a great concept. I will be watching this process closely, I am so interested!

BTW, today I am taking my acrylic paints, my Stay-Wet palette and a whole sheet painting that I washed off to my art group this afternoon. Hopefully, they will not make me take my other-than-transparent watercolors with me and leave! I will continue on with the texture details over the remaining underpainting with acrylics and see how that goes. No, it won't be hanging on a wall when I do this, but will be acrylic on paper nonetheless. I am in an experimental mood I guess.

Prabha N. said...

The painting has come off very well...The kids seem engrossed in their fun rides :)

Gary L. Everest Paintings said...

You are a glutton for punishment! My Maestro, William Matheny, as well as, none other than acclaimed portrait artist, Everett Raymond Kinstler, have said that painting portraits in water color is EXTREMELY CHALLENGING. You, my Dear, are a tiger and I salute your fearlessness.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks so much, Susan, Prabha and Gary, for the great comments! Gary, if you only knew what a tiny kitten I am about most things - but I do tread in where angels fear when it comes to painting!!

Barb Sailor said... have captured the exhuberance of the fun in this scene - not an easy task. You know what they say - practice makes perfect- but I would say that you are doing very well with your portraits.

Jeanette said...

I think you're moving in the right direction and that practice will overcome obstacles.

Have you considered trying your ideas on a small scale first to get a feel for colours, washes, techniques? I nearly always create a study before I go for a major piece and find that it gives me an opportunity to figure out colour and composition and how washes work with that particular paper. Then I can go into a large piece knowing what to expect and how to correct mistakes.

I know that people don't always want that extra step (a bit like doing a guage swatch when knitting!) but it does pay off.

I also agree strongly that you do need a plan, especially in watercolour. My plan is a strong underdrawing and a study before the main piece.

Yes, you can go wild and add colour as you go, but even then there has to be a goal in mind or mud happens very quickly.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Barb. I'm not giving up - I figure if my technique is not any better by the end of the year, I'll rethink it.

Jeanette, studies always help, but I'm not always dedicated enough to do them. The problem now is working much larger than I've ever worked - and working on a vertical surface with wet media. I'll get there but it's not going to be overnight. As with everything worth doing, it's going to take some time and more effort until I get the flow of it all. I appreciate your suggestions - all good ones from a dedicated artist!