This is the second in the series of watercolour paintings that I have embarked upon, with my daughter Grace as a willing subject – bless her. She’s already sent me two more selfies that she wishes me to paint in addition to this collection. And I’m happy to.
This one however, was a real challenge. Much more difficult than the first, as posted previously. The first one took me all of three days from start to finish, in terms of actually painting it. Preparing the layout sketch can take a day or two in itself. This one has taken the best part of a week. About half way through I almost gave up as I just wasn’t happy with the tonal variations in my daughter’s fair face, but it’s amazing what happens when you start adding the darkest tones, it sort of puts everything else into perspective and makes it easier to figure out what needs to be adjusted.
Adjusted I did. Quite a lot. Fine tuning the whole painting until I was reasonably happy with it. Watercolour is, as mentioned previously, a tricky beast. I’m not an expert in this medium, so I’m learning the ropes as I go, much as I have with oils this past year. There are a lot of neat little tricks for achieving great effects though. Although, my approach to art mediums and materials in general is to ignore what others say you’re supposed to do with them and instead allow myself to push at the boundaries of what they can do for me, which is why I quickly adopted working with mixed media from a young age. Working purely with one kind of medium then, is an altogether new experience for me. It has it’s limitations, but that’s part of the fun of it. I continue to educate myself on painting techniques as much as possible, but there’s nothing like actually doing it in order to get valuable first hand experience.
I haven’t quite learned how to achieve the smoothness of colour transition with watercolour as is easily possible with oil paint. There are blending techniques, but I’m not quite there yet with knowing how to apply them. Dogged persistence is always helpful, and I have little else to do with my days except paint.
My friend John suggested I do a time-lapse video of my painting, a while back. Even though I’m not really very well versed in creating videos, I did however take photos of this one throughout the whole process, and such I’ve managed to stitch them together into a sort of time-lapse movie thing. It’s not great, and you’ll have to forgive the images jumping around – next time I’ll set up a tripod and actually attempt to do a better job.