Sunday, January 22, 2012

Art History

I was looking through some of my old college stuff and found a few watercolors I did.  In about 1996 I took a class called Teaching Children Art, and we spent a week on watercolor.  Here are the first watercolors I ever really did.  All of them were done on regular printer paper with a children's watercolor paint set.

#1:  I knew I wanted to figure out how to get the reflection of the sun or the moon on water.  As soon as I finished it I knew I'd messed it up though, and I am always quite amused now when I see the pillar of moonlight on the water.  However, even then, some of my edges where the brown and green run together are actually kind of nice.

#2:  Moon on Water again - In this one I realized that bodies of water don't look like this, that the shape of my lake was physically impossible.  Love the tree too.  :)
#3:  Got rid of the boundaries on my water, and tried some new colors.  One interesting thing that I tried a lot then was drawing on the paper first with yellow crayon and then painting over it.  The wax resists the water.  The teacher didn't ever mention anything about saving whites.  That would have been very helpful!
#4:  What's impressive to me about this all of these paintings is that I wasn't using any kind of reference, I was just making them up entirely.  I almost never do that now, in fact, I can't think of the last time I did.  I also see that I did a bit of a graduated wash for the sky this time, and the texture of the water is rather nice too, minus the white crayoned waves.
#6:  At this time, my grandma died, and I went to see my grandpa.  He lives next to a lake and has a bunch of windows that all frame a gorgeous water view.  When I got to his house (that my grandma had kept immaculate and beautiful her whole life) I saw that one of his deck chairs was in the living room.  This was very unusual, so I asked him about it.  He said that grandma always made him change his clothes when he came in from working with the cows (he's a rancher), but now that she was gone, he could just come in and sit down in his muddy clothes.  I had been studying Dali at the time, and decided to paint something for my grandpa in this style.  I titled it, "Making the Best of Things."
#6:  At some point, I picked up a step-by-step watercolor book and some tube paints (cheap ones) and some paper (cheap) and 2 brushes (expensive for me in university but still cheap), and started doing the examples.  I did this next one twice.
#7:  I actually still like this next one quite a bit.  You can see that the book was having a good influence on me, even though I didn't understand the "rules" I was following: things in the distance are more pale, I saved some whites, etc...  What amazes me now was how dark I was getting the trees in the front.  When I went back to watercolor 15 years later, getting dark, opaque colors would be one of my biggest challenges.

#8:  I'll add this one later when I can get a picture of it, but it was the final watercolor I did until I started taking classes again.  It was another step-by-step exercise, and I gave it to give my dad for Christmas. 

It was fun finding these old paintings and remembering my first exposure to watercolor. I could be sorry that I didn't pursue it more back then, but I know it wasn't the right time for it for me. Although I do love watercolor, I don't have that passion for it that so many artists have. I'm okay putting it aside for a while and coming back to it.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to start a new class and those are good motivation for me. As always, I'll keep updating this site with my progress.

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