10 May 2010

The Best Laid Art Plans . . .

There's something about watercolors -- the way they capture and reflect light -- and their simplicity that makes them seem so much more accessible than oils.  Maybe it's the traditions associated with watercolors, for in years past it was a popular pastime, an everyman's sport to traipse about in the woods and meadows with a small sketchbook and tiny pans of paints.  And it wasn't just the men -- women took up watercolor painting and sketching with a passion, too.  In the days when there were no television and radio, painting was a leisure craft taken up by many around the world.


It's also surprising to consider who painted watercolors -- certainly J.M.W. Turnerwas pivotal in making watercolor painting a most modern medium --
very little detail, purely atmospheric in his rendering -- incredible!   John Singer Sargent who we associate with Newport and the heady world of the Astors and Vanderbilts, created beautiful watercolors while traveling
throughout Italy, and especially of Venice, where again the light and water reflections were magical.   Other watercolor painters that I love to pour over for the simplicity and delicacy of their works are the Scottish painter, Charles Rennie Mackintosh

 and the French painter, Raoul Dufy, whose paintings always remind me of the backdrop of the famous finale dance scene in the movie An American in Paris--


Well, contrary to my plans for painting outdoors this weekend, high winds and thunderstorms threw a bit of a stumbling block to painting outside!  So I stayed safely tucked indoors and worked on some watercolors using books and photographs I keep handy for such occasions.  This is one I am particularly pleased with -- I found him in one of my books on Scotland.  Bit of a skeptic, wouldn't you say?


 The Vest
watercolor on vellum bristol paper
9" x 12"

I have been painting watercolors on vellum bristol paper, experimenting with the "viscosity" factor.  The vellum allows the paint to float more, leaving an open-ended type of finish.  At times it can be aggravating, but I'm learning to watch and wait, not to be so quick with the paper towels, to let the paints creep and crawl around a bit more then usual.  Next I want to try working with watercolor paper that's been coated with gesso or pumice gel -- I'm curious about how those surfaces will affect the paints.

As Rosanna Dana of SNL used to say, It's always something . . . !

10 comments:

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Your portrait of "The Vest" is strong and yet using the lightest touch of water and color...I think you would like yupo or maybe you have already tried this paper. I like this piece very much!

Kelly Marszycki said...

much obliged, Mary Ann! Someday I will tackle Yupo -- especially after seeing the results of your working with it -- intriguing! :-)

La Dolce Vita said...

you are right about Dufy they do remind me of that!

Kelly Marszycki said...

LOL! -- Caterina -- perhaps they did use his works as a backdrop? be interesting to scroll through the credits! Thanks for visiting!

layers said...

I used to paint watercolors for many years-and have even tried Yupo paper-- but eventually I moved on to acrylic and collage and even assemblage-- all this is a wonderful journey

Kelly Marszycki said...

Donna -- Yes, it truly is a journey, and we never know where the trail will lead us! Congratulations on the book, Donna!

rivergardenstudio said...

Very beautiful, your "vest" piece. Light and airy. What a great post about watercolorists... roxanne

Kelly Marszycki said...

Why thank you, rivergardenstudio! Glad you stopped by -- :-)

Eva said...

Isn't it fun to experiment? I like this watercolor and the textures you captured. Watercolor behaves differently on gesso. It dries darker because it doesn't absorb into the paper. Much like Yupo, but not as slick. The nice thing is that you can lift the paint and use stencils for some great textures!

Kelly Marszycki said...

Thanks, Eva -- I will keep that in mind! Always fun to experiment!