Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Channeling Norman Bates

You're a heart breaker,
dream maker,
love taker,
don't you mess around with me

This song, recorded by Pat Benatar, should be watercolor's theme song - at least in my opinion.

Sometimes I wonder why I work in watercolor. It goes like this:
You begin a painting. It can go one of two ways.
1. It can
look - maybe - wonderful (you think as you're painting)
fantastic - yes - this is it!
Then - what's happening?
I'm losing it. I'm losing it.
It's gone.
Just as you crest that wave of painting success, you crash in watercolor wipe out.

2. It can
look - like - absolute - garbage
(I was thinking of another word here but edited for the sake of unknown sensitive readers).
You give up on it,
but then-
(think of the shower scene from Psycho here, cue the scary staccato violin music),
you take your paintbrush and viciously hack and slap a wash of paint over the entire painting (scary music, arm raised again and again, paint brush violently connecting with painting),
WAIT - what's happening?
It looks better - can I save it?!!!
Quick - painting CPR - lift paint here - darken values here
Doctor, we can save this patient!!!

Watercolor - noun, synonym - heart breaker
Case in point -

This was a negative painting I was working on. I've shared before that I like to have a negative painting around to work on since it is not my natural style. It was one of those frustrating paintings that started well and became disappointing. Irritated, I mixed a wash of Thalo blue and casually slapped paint over the whole thing. It actually started to look better! I focused a bit more, lifted some of the Thalo off the lightest values, let it dry, and added some detail. While certainly not great, it improved.

Maybe I should channel Norman Bates more often.

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