Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painting From Life

Beach Day, 7x10 watercolor (c)2000

Aegina Island Harbor, 7x10 watercolor (c)2000

Painting from life can be both exciting and nerve wracking, for me anyway.  I seem to go into a trance as the action of painting and the colors of the paints hypnotize me.  I don't see what I'm doing.  Overdoing the work with watercolors can happen before I can blink and wake up from my stupor. 

These two little paintings are the ones that were sold in my Etsy shop.  Both were painted on site.  I painted Beach Day while at my favorite Long Island beach, Pt. Lookout.  This couple were sitting in their beach chairs enjoying the day.  I guess they were having a good day, for all I know they were annoyed with each other and just sitting there.  Can you tell that I like a good story while I work?

The Greek harbor scene was painted while we were on a short day cruise to three Greek islands, Aegina, Poros, and another one that I can't remember now.  They were all lovely and had different scenes, but at Aegina we sat at a cafe to have an icy ice cream frappe because it was so hot we couldn't continue without something cold.  We were at the harbor and I had time to quickly draw the scene out with a bit of color.  I finished it later on, but basically had it sketched with paint right there.

When I started with watercolors I purchased a small travel set that included half pans of basic colors, small brushes, and tiny pad of watercolor paper, and a little bottle for water.  It's like a fanny pack you can clip around your waist, but I never do that.  I added pencils and some other stuff I need for painting and it's the perfect bring along set.

The funny thing is the paints that are included are minimal yet I do my best work using just those colors.  The palette at home has so many colors now, but I gravitate towards the ones in the travel set.  I think I should pay attention to that and maybe minimize my choices.  Whatever I do, I know I like painting from life.  I just have to try and stay in the present rather than have those out of body moments.


  1. Very cool! I always paint from photos, much less stress and the shadows don't change (I am slow).
    I am impressed!

  2. Thanks Sheryl! These are small so I can sketch out my subject kinda quick and not take alot of time with details. When I paint from photos I tend to get tight because I see too much.

  3. Painting from life can be so daunting! But, the results so fresh and lively! These are fun and well done, Dora!

  4. I love the vibrant colors.

  5. Peggy I agree with you. It keeps me on my toes!


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