Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Something New

9x12 inches, watercolor on canvas

I'm excited about how this little watercolor turned out. Normally I paint from photos that I have taken, but a few days ago I read about an online friend's vacation to Copper Canyon in Mexico, and she included a link to some of her husband's photos. I fell in love with the image of this potter, and wanted to paint her. Normally I use 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper, but I had purchased a Fredrix watercolor canvas in a class last year, and never even opened the package. I decided to give both the photo and the new surface a whirl.

There are good and not so good things about working on the watercolor canvas. One of the best things is that the canvas, once dampened stays damp quite a while, making blending nice and easy. Once the paint is dry, it's also easy to lift pigment. Fixing errors and restoring highlights is no problem. It's not so easy to glaze over colors because of the way color lifts. However if the underlying paint is very dry, and the glaze is applied gently it can be done. The large area of dark door way was a real problem. I prepared what I thought was an adequate pool of indigo and a little burnt sienna, and realized that I wasn't going to have enough to make a uniform dark area. Then I accidentally touched the edge with a damp finger and lifted a spot. When the whole thing was dry I went back in with an indigo watercolor pencil, and evened it out. I actually like the way the dark watercolor pencil sits on top of the weave of the canvas, and the color does look less blotched. A couple more pluses with using the canvas are that the surface never buckles as watercolor paper can, and the finished painting doesn't need to be matted or framed. So the extra initial cost of the canvas is offset by savings in framing expense.

Anyway, I still need to fix the color on this painting, since any moisture will make the paint lift. I'm going to have to wait for a still dry day so I can spray outside.

Here's a ten minute video from Tom Lynch demonstrating using watercolor canvas:


JoAnn said...

just lovely, Sherry!

Judybec said...

Beautiful painting Sherry!
There's a story here and it's painted and drawn with confidence.
Also, thank you for all this information -- Sounds like canvas is wonderful to work with. I'm going to give watercolor canvas a try -- I'd love to forget the whole framing process.

Sharon said...

Sherry, this really is lovely! I like the muted colors and the composition is also most appealing. Thanks for the information about watercolor canvas.