Thursday, February 22, 2024

“Too Tight,” “Too Loose” or “Just Right?”

In the classic fairy tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” the familiar tale is told of finding the “just right” in the middle of two extremes. 

This tale came to my mind recently as I was once again experimenting with different styles of watercolor painting. Now that I have been painting for about three years, I kind of know the style that feels more comfortable for me. Still, it’s kind of fun to try other styles sometimes. I might find a style I like better, but if I don’t, then at least I have a new “commitment” to the style I already thought was “me.”

As I see the extremes in watercolor style, the continuum goes from extremely loose and abstract, where you have to hope the artist’s title of the piece will tell you what the subject is (“poppies in a field” or some such). 

Then there is a myriad of levels of “loose” painting, and as the levels travel more to the other extreme, the subjects are obvious, but the artwork is not intended to be mistaken for a photograph! 

Then the extreme style, on the other end of the spectrum from the extremely loose type, is a detailed, realistic style, where when taken all the way out, the artwork actually CAN be mistaken for a photograph.

I have never wanted to even try the extremely loose style. But a lot of my work has certainly been closer to “loose” than it is to “realistic.”

Here are some of my recent examples:

This is about as “loose” as I will allow myself to paint. This Eurasian Bluetit took me less than a half hour and was fun. The technique was wet-on-wet (wet paint on wet cold-pressed paper).

This Banana is about 3/4 of the way across the continuum between loose and detailed. The technique was wet-on-wet, on cold-pressed paper).

This Forget-Me-Not is pretty detailed, though would not be mistaken for a photograph. The technique was wet-on-dry (wet paint on dry hot-pressed paper).

This Ladybug is an example of very detailed and realistic; I’ve been told it looks like it could crawl off the page. My great-grandson said, “It looks REAL!” The technique was wet-on-dry, on hot-pressed paper.

So, where am I on the continuum at this point? Which is my Goldilocks’ “just right?” 

Well, the painting I’m most “proud” of is the Ladybug. It has drawn a lot of compliments from family and friends. Problematically, it took me several hours, and, quite frankly, it was not fun.

I’m all about the process AND the product. So, while I love the product, I paint for not only the product, but also for the enjoyment of the process. 

So, the detailed, realistic style is really not for me.

The Eurasian Bluetit makes me smile and was quick and fun to do, but I’d like the finished product to look a LITTLE more realistic.

The blue Forget-Me-Not, a little more toward the detailed style, was done on hot-pressed paper (as was the Ladybug and most all realistic and detailed pieces), which I do not like to use. And it simply was not fun to do (though I love the colors).

The Banana, while not my favorite subject, is my Goldilocks “just right.” It was loose in that it was done wet-on-wet. But it’s realistic enough for me (certainly not mistaken for a photograph, though.).

So for at least the near future, my pieces will be this wet-on-wet but not extremely loose style. That style is “just right” for me.

#loosewatercolor #realisticwatercolor #Goldilocks #justright #watercolorladybug #watercolorforgetmenot #watercolorbanana #watercolorbluetit

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Catching Up (and On My Work Table Now)


On My Work Table Today 

I have several projects in progress, and that’s usually the way I roll. 

My 2023 scrapbook is now complete, and November and December are the “biggest” months as far as photos, so it was a good feeling to have that done! 

I am enjoying a Bible Study on Exodus, simultaneous with a free seminary class on Exodus. I have always loved Old Testament history.

A new weekly planner is in process also (Erin Condren), though I’m not sure I’ll stick with it. Every time I think it will be really fun to do a cute planner, the new wears off quickly. So, I will only continue with it if it’s really how I want to spend my time (cuz I’m in charge of me!).

My watercolor art has been a challenge lately, manly because I am not enjoying the wet-on-wet technique that most art teachers use. I am now going to once again try the detailed, wet-on-dry style of Anna Mason, and I’ve spent a couple of days setting my my palette and getting everything ready to switch to that style (I already have all the supplies, so that makes it easy to get started). Soon I will post some of my work with the new style.

Here are a couple of recent wet-on-wet watercolor pieces:

#wetonwettechnique #watercolor #Exodus #planner