Lasts night's demo went okay. It was a lot of fun to do, but there were some tense moments when I wondered how I was going to pull it off. You can see all the supplies I used, including a small bottle of rubbing alcohol to clean the surface of the YUPO right before I painted. The 3" and 4" Jack Richeson brushes are brand new (part of a prize I received at the Watercolor Society of Indiana art show:-) It was great to have some good sized brushes to work with on the full sheet of YUPO - 40 x 26."

This posted painting has been cropped, but, other than that, it's not been tweaked or corrected since the demo. When I moved it to take it home, there were still some puddles of wet paint that dripped a little.
I'm not sure how much I'll work on it. I'm notorious for over working paintings and must always remind myself that 'perfect' doesn't exist for a painting (or for any other human endeavor, for that matter.)

I'm thinking as I look at the painting--- Have I expressed what I wanted to express? Is the composition holding together? Is that green background shape still too strong? Do the edges need more variation? Must change the angle of the horizon on the right to angle down a little so it doesn't pull my eye out of the picture. Anything too distracting? Need to realign those two gray slightly angled lines near the bottom of the painting to be completely horizontal..... Adjust the dark drip on the man's lower leg.....
I may crop it some more, too, but right now the painting's composition is built on the phi principle.

I'll look at it a while and decide what else to do. My hope was to create an impressionistic watercolor painting involving interaction of people, and your comments would certainly be appreciated.

The demo lasted an hour and a half, and about twenty minutes before I was done, I began to really feel the pressure of making the painting work. Up close, the painting has a VERY abstract quality about it.... and I was up close working on it. (Click on it to view a close up of it.) Once I stepped away and viewed it at a distance, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the evening. The group was very receptive and seemed so appreciative. I do think that many were motivated to try something new.

It was great to have Rhonda Carpenter as my dinner guest, too, and she seemed to really have a good time. Someone asked me if my husband ever went to art functions with me, so I replied, "Yes, about as often as I go to Nascar races with him." Actually, I am thankful that he is very supportive and always attends art shows with me when it is important to me that he's there.

Although the painting took only an hour and a half to paint, I did have the composition and drawing resolved before the demo, as well as already having miskit in the small areas where I knew I wanted crisp, white shapes. Tomorrow I'll post another variation of the painting and will continue to add new ones as I create them, all inspired from this same reference material.

A challenge for you - next painting you do, use only the 3 biggest brushes you have. The ones I used for this were a three inch flat, a four inch flat, and a 1" flat. Let me know how you do.

"GATHERING" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 21 x 36"
Original reference photo to right, taken in London near Lincoln Park, but I used the oil painting study as my reference last night - see previous post of Demo Preparations on January 12.



I'm posting older paintings right now including some of the first YUPO paintings I tried. Anything with bright colors seemed a natural for YUPO, and the fish theme worked very well.
I used rubbing alcohol to 'draw in' the white coral, resulting in blobbery edges that I liked. Very thin layers of filaments from halloween webbing created the thin dark lines, and I removed it after the paint dried. Paint on a tissue made some good foliage texture, too.

Top Painting - "FISHY FISHY" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 17 x 16" SOLD

Painting to Left - "PRETTY WOMAN" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 16 x 15" SOLD



This painting was not done outdoors, but rather from the photo I'd taken on the day I really did paint plein aire, (see previous post.) First I coated the watercolor paper with gesso, allowed it to dry, then sketched the picture on the gesso.

I did this painting long before I ever knew about YUPO and just loved what crazy things the paint would do on the gessoed surface. I think the gessoed surface must be a first cousin to YUPO's surface. They are both invigorating to paint on, not allowing the paint to soak into the paper.

Last week one of my classes painted on another challenging and playful surface - TYVEK paper - see Myrna Wacknow's blog for great paintings on that paper. One of her paintings has just been accepted into American Watercolor Society's annual show. Her entry is very eyecatching, and I sure hope it wins an good award. Way to go, Myrna!

"GRANNY'S AGAIN" Transparent Watercolor on Gessoed Arches 140# CP 22 x 15"



This was actually painted 'on location,' while I was sitting on a ridge above a lake on a summer day. Our neighbors' cottage had old concrete front steps with a neglected geranium growing beside them. I'd only been painting in watercolor a couple of years and wanted to give plein aire a try.

Painting outside: bugs, heat, wind, sun, uncomfortable seating..... is there any reason to do it? I do have to admit that being in the presence of what I'm painting makes a positive difference in my response with the brush. This painting won the first big award I'd ever gotten, from the Logansport (IN) Art Association's Spring Show, Best of Show! I hadn't even gone to the opening banquet, so they called me with the news. I was astounded.

My husband asked me why I hadn't painted a more flourishing geranium, but I liked the sparseness and resilience this plant had on that hot August day in the sun beside the heated concrete. However, I still avoid plein aire painting if at all possible.

"GRANNY'S GERANIUMS" Transparent Watercolor on 140 CP Arches 22x 15" SOLD



It's fun - and sometimes appalling, too - when you look back at old work you've done. The next several posts will be earlier works which I liked when I did them. Now I see changes, VAST CHANGES, that would improve each painting.

I remember one instructor wisely saying that an artist's work should always be changing. To paint what we're good at may be comfortable, but to push ahead and discover new ways to paint and express ourselves is absolutely crucial for a thriving artistic journey.

Painting on the slick YUPO surface challenged me for several years, then I quit painting on it altogether, wanting other challenges. Much later, I did a class demo on YUPO. WOW! I'd forgotten the joy, the excitement, and spontaneity that painting on YUPO gives me. Now I'm challenging myself in other ways on YUPO, other than just knowing how to control the paint. Pushing ahead ..... how are you pushing the edges of your artistic journey?

Each new year, I select what I think is my weakest area in art, then focus on improving it. This year I chose 'expressing specific concepts' in my paintings. (I'd written 'conceptual art' earlier but changed the wording to more accurately define where I want to go - see comments below.) I'm hoping to rely on the versatility of YUPO to help me pursue the concepts that I want to convey in my art.

"BOY, OH BUOY!" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 17 x 12"



This is an older painting that I really liked a lot and didn't ever want to sell. Soon after I'd painted it, a local art group I'd joined had a show, so I put this in the show with a high enough price on it to 'keep' it. Wrong.

It's a weird feeling to appreciate the nice check you get for a painting yet wish you could get the painting back instead. The great people who purchased it love the painting very much, and they've said I can come visit it if I want.

Eagles are incredibly majestic. The first ones we saw in Alaska took our breath away, but in a matter of a couple of days, we'd say, "Oh, that's just another eagle." Same for the puffins we saw. We never saw enough otters or whales to feel that way about them.

While Marianne and I kayaked across an Alaskan bay with our guide, Howie, we watched as a silver gray seal followed our kayak for a long, long time, keeping about twenty feet between him and us. An otter swimming near us maintained a much wider berth and turned to always keep his feet pointed at us. Being outdoors, seeing wildlife, being an artist .... it all goes together for me.

"EAGLE EYE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Arches, 14 x 11" SOLD