I am almost certain that a reflective black surface (my kitchen counter!) is the hardest thing to capture in paint. I so often put things down on it and then change my mind because it is just too shiny and too dark. But this morning after my coffee I got up the courage to tackle it, maybe because there were so many objects on top of it. And also because I read something yesterday in my Charles Reid watercolour book. “…the temptation is to paint it as dark as it actually is. But very dark values should be treated with great respect and should rarely be made as dark as they seem.”
This isn’t New Year’s but if it was I would make a resolution: to paint more people. It’s not something I get a chance to do often but it will be my challenge for 2012. Portraits in watercolour are so difficult and there’s not much chance to fix mistakes once the paint is on the paper. But here it is, the start of my New Year’s resolution.
After three days in the house I was really itching to get out to paint. This little project of a sketch a day has become quite an obsession, an addiction almost. And even though I didn’t have much time on my way to school today I did have to stop in my favourite spot in Pointe Claire for a little look up — at the sky, the bell and the beautiful steeple of St. Joachim. It was an immediate cure.
It’s a mid-summer day in March and I’m still trapped in my house. Nothing to do but watch the tulips open, curl, fade and lose their petals in this heat. They too are wondering where spring went.
This was done with watercolour pencils, which I have never used before. I wasn’t sure quite what to do with them. If you want green do you mix yellow and blue on the paper and hope for the best? Or do you use a green pencil? It was a bit of an experiment on a day when I couldn’t get out… And a very difficult work to scan (especially the yellows!) because of the vibrancy of the colours.
It’s the first day of spring but it feels like the first day of summer and that is just freakish. We went directly from winter to summer, totally bypassing spring. Straight from coats, boots, and mittens to shorts and tank tops. But this is just some kind of cruel joke because no doubt the cold will be back next week.
The Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was bedridden for most of her life due to a terrible accident that occurred while she was riding a bus. She was in a full body cast for months and many of her self-portraits were painted from her bed. Thankfully I wasn’t in a bus accident but I did have to paint from bed today because of a back injury. And my sketch does have a mirror in it but thankfully it’s not a self-portrait.
For some of us who live in cold climates, checking the frozen ground and waiting for something green to emerge from the thawing soil is a daily activity in March and April. There are no shoots poking out of the ground yet in my garden but when my son surprised me with these tulips the other day I felt almost sure that spring will come.