Saturday, April 13, 2013

Finishing is 90% of the Painting Process

I've just returned home from the Watercolor Society of Oregon Convention which happened last weekend, followed by the WSO workshop which was this past week. Our instructor Mary Ann Beckwith made the statement that 10% of the effort put into a painting was the beginning and 90% was (or should be) put into the finishing. This was just one of the many instructive comments our instructor made during this workshop that I stored away. Mary Ann generously shared these incredibly vivid liquid watercolors she uses, which provided the wonderful colors in the kites. I had a lot of fun coming up with the concept of this piece, using kite shapes and tape to save areas of color and spraying over the top with a white paint to create the background. You can see that the white paint was just a film, letting the original color come through, making the background more interesting. Nice isn't it? However this is only the 10%.

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Another workshop participant and talented artist, Linda Rothchild-Ollis, looked at the piece and said, "let's take it to the next level." Mary Ann Beckwith uses more neutral layers over a piece like this to icrease focus and interest, and Linda offered to help me use Photoshop to do the same with this piece. The following morning, Linda took the picture you see above and loaded it on to her laptop. We could then play with the added layering ideas and also add some more line work. Below is the computer version.

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Linda next emailed me the photos which I opened with my ipad. I then could use this Photoshopped image to work on the acutal piece. I felt like some computer genius with my ipad helping me develop this piece to completion. In reality, my friend Linda did all the computer work, but I am inspired now to learn how to use Photoshop to edit paintings like this.

As you can see, the 90% of finishing started with Linda encouraging me to add the layers. I did indeed spend quite a bit of time finishing this painting after first envisioning it with the help of the computer. If you scroll up to the beginning and compare it to the finished piece below, I think you will see the difference between just a nice painting amd a really interesting and more evocative piece. At least that's how I feel about it.

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Windy Day, 20 x 26
Watercolor on Yupo


Ruth Armitage said...

I love how you completed this painting Margaret. It was fun to spend the week together!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to use the bag of techniques Mary Ann brought to your workshop. Gosh! You had a super group of people in the workshop.


Anonymous said...

Hi Margaret......reading about your workshop with Mary Ann made me want to see your blogsite which I didn't know about before. I love it! I , too, got accepted by EXPRESSIONS WEST and rejected by the EMERALD ARTS CENTER. Nice to have a watercolor artist (Hewitt) as a juror! I love what you did with your painting using the help you got from Linda Rothchild's beautiful!

Victoria T.

Linda Rothchild Ollis said...

It was a pleasure to work with you!
Great title for this post.
Linda Rothchild Ollis

Anonymous said...

Margaret, I love this painting and seeing what you learned show such great results! Thanks for sharing. I continue to be impressed by your creative use of color and shape.

Jolene Christensen