Monday, October 15, 2012

Editing a Painting--Blue Moon Heron

I know I'm not the only artist who has to live with a piece for awhile before the final edits are done. The wonderful thing about painting gouache (opaque watercolors) on top of a smooth paper covered with gesso (a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalkgypsumpigment) is that the paint can be easily removed and reworked weeks or months later. 

Here is Blue Moon Heron as I published it a couple of weeks ago.Since that time, I've lived with it and I've had some feedback from other artists. Hence, some changes have been made. Remember, nothing should be so precious on a painting that it can't be sacrificed for the betterment of the piece.
  • The yellow and green mountains from my original sketch are a distraction from the strength of the composition. They had to go.
  • The largest orb behind the heron had to be larger to avoid an awkwardness on the left side where the dark and beige meet and the heron's beak almost hits the edge of the moon.
  • And my "happy accident" of the red bleeding into the blue of the far wing was too distracting to viewers. 

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The image below shows the simplification of the piece. I think the changes greatly improve the painting, but It's still not finished. The final issue is to help the upper band of the painting relate to the rest of the painting more definitely. For this, I added some blue to the upper part of the piece and did a bit of calligraphic work to relate to the line work in the bottom of the painting. I also softened some of the hard edges on the forward wing to make the head of the bird more clearly the focal point. You can see the final edits in the 3rd image.

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What do you think about Blue Moon Heron now?

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Blue Moon Heron, 21 x 18 inches

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Giving Back--I'm the New President of Watercolor Society of Oregon

A year ago I agreed to take on the role of Vice President of this great organization, and this past weekend I was elected as the President. It will take time and energy to do a good job, but I stepped forward because I want to give back to the WSO because of the many benefits I have received as a member.

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When I was juried into this statewide organization in 1999, I knew very few watercolor artists. By attending the conventions held twice a year, and taking advantage of the reasonably priced workshops given by  nationally and internationally known artists, I have met many talented and hard-working artists and made many friends throughout the state. I now belong to critique groups and have the privilege of entering my paintings into juried exhibits twice a year. All of these things have made me a better artist and have expanded my art-life greatly.

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This recent Fall Convention was in Welches, near Mt. Hood. So many educational and fun activities were planned, and one involved several WSO members presenting a Victorian croquet game in costume for other members to sketch and paint. I couldn't resist having my photo taken with fellow member, Mark Findayson in costume. What a creative group with great spirit we WSO members are!