Thursday, June 16, 2011

Solace when the En Plein Air gets rained out....

Well, actually my en plein didn't get "rained" out, it got "darkened" and "cloudied" out. My spell checker says there is no such word as cloudied. Hahaha. But believe me, it was dark all day...windless (that was good) but not a shadow, not a color, not a peep of sun. For me that is a no-go as far as painting out of doors. I was VERY disappointed. Big sighs.

So...while my husband was sanding the last of the preparation for me to paint the bathroom (on Friday), I snuck over to the studio to play. I decided to use a photo reference I took last fall (November, I think) at Dora Lake and in Mount Dora, Florida. They have a garden show down by the lake shore. And this little lighthouse sits there on a rock outcropping. It's kind of a "symbol" for the town.

I thought this might be a good time to experiment with some new materials. I pulled up the image on my iPad and did a little rough sketch...moving things around where I wanted them...putting the flag pole into the center of interest, making the palm trees more prominent so that the tropical feeling would be there.

A few days ago I put three coats of Daniel Smith watercolor ground onto a canvas board. Three coats is what they suggest, sanding in between each coat. I applied it with a foam brush thinking I'd eliminate brush strokes that way. They also say you can thin it with up to 10% water. I think for the last coat I should have done that. It went on so thick that I still got brush strokes and even with the sanding, they were apparent. So, I learned something there right away. The paint did not "bead up" on me but it did lay on the surface more than regular paper.

I expected the dry surface to be a lot like either yupo or watercolor canvas. It has a consistency all it's own, however, and is different from both of those. It's hard to describe.
You can, like those others mentioned, lift back to white very easily and it is also difficult to get dark dark unless you use very thick pigment. I still need to go back and add more darks to my little "trial" piece above. I had to give it a light coating of acrylic varnish in order to put on a gouache wash at the end.

I also wish now I'd put the little people on the bench closer to the center of interest too. So this painting may be a "do-over" one of these days with a little different composition. I will try the watercolor ground again...more water and more sanding OR I will be deliberate about the textures and add them where I want them in order to enhance the subject matter...another experiment! I also think I need another taller palm tree.

I also taped the matting before I started.
It is 14 x 11 with a a 2" faux mat around the outside. So the painting itself is 10 x12.
Just another experiment.

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