Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sketching with Paint

When I first started with watercolors, I really didn't have any idea how to use them.  As I said in a previous post, I took a class my town offered which ended up being a disaster on the one hand, but a chance to try on the other.  The watercolorist who was the instructor, was busy hustling the retirees by adding extra hours to the class, payable to himself, getting paid to frame their work, besides getting paid to teach the class. 

What teach the class?  He was totally unethical as I have said.  He only demonstrated watercolor painting, by using other artist's work as a guide for the students.  He didn't teach anything.  Not how to set up the colors, not how to prepare the paper, not how to manipulate the brush or the paint.  Never set up a still life to work from or a model or go outside.   Nothing but demonstrate on other's art. 

When that class was over I continued in my quest with watercolor on my own. At least I had a little idea, but I used these paints as I did oils.  I have learned that it's a totally different medium and it needs a new approach.  That's not to say I haven't applied these paints just like oils, but they don't work the same way.  I can apply watercolor paint as I do the oil, but they get absorbed into the surface differently. 

I found I liked sketching with watercolor from life better than from photos.  I know lately I've been using pictures of what I want to paint.  Sometimes it's unavoidable.  But when I can, I paint straight from the real thing. 

John's Laouto ©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis
The first time I used watercolors to paint a live model I used my son playing his instrument.  It was summer and he was practicing in our patio room.  He planned to be there a while and I ran to get the paints going as long as he didn't mind.  I quickly sketched the general position of his body and the instrument with a pencil then I went in with paint.  The paints that I used for the class were student grade.  If I was using pro paints I may have had a better result, but I thought it was good at the time.  Now that I've been working with better paint I can tell the difference.

Gregory ©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis
I liked working with watercolors and the live model so I did it again with my younger son while he was doing homework in the afternoon.  He sat across from me at the kitchen table and I sketched him with only the paint this time.  Thankfully, that day he sat quietly and he was a fidgety kid! 

I know I'm calling these paintings sketching because I really didn't spend that much time on them.  I sat and quickly painted.  When I was done, the painting was over.  I didn't pencil out the idea and go lightly with the paints for a few days like I did with the cherry blossoms.  I guess each work has it's own energy and style.  Some days a sketch is enough, some times it takes more for the work to end.

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