Saturday, October 20, 2012

My first experience with hot-pressed paper

Iris, Arches HP paper, 40 x 53 cm
When I painted a similar iris a month ago I wasn't happy with the jagged background. I have been wanting to redo the painting with a wet-in-wet background in which the colors smoothly fuse one into the other. For some reason I had the impression that the hot-pressed paper is ideal for that. I had never used it, but in the books they say that "it is ideal for large even washes". Well, that turned out to be the worst choice for wet-in-wet work. Its smooth, almost glossy, surface is not absorbent. The water just sits on top, waiting to run in whatever direction the paper tilts. Once some water does soak in though, the paper buckles and turns into a varied landscape of hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. So, I did not get the background I wanted, but I did learn something.

With the remaining paint I decided to try to do just a wash. This time I did not tape the paper, but soaked it wet and laid it on a plexiglass surface. Then I poured the different paints and tilted the surface a bit in different directions. Some colors fused nicely. But the sedimentary green and brown pigments just sat on top. When I think of watercolor and why I like it, the first thing that comes to mind is the wet-in-wet work, and hot-pressed paper is very unsuitable for that. It feels like the right choice for technical drawings. Maybe one day I'll find some use for it, but for now I'll stick to the rougher cold-pressed.

wash of colors poured over wet hot-pressed paper

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fishing on the lake

Angler, Arches paper, 27 x 21 cm
What attracted me in this scene was the outline of light separating the figure from the background. I think I did a good job with the values and contrast here.
Thanks to Karl and Paulina for sharing the beautiful photos from their trip in the BC mountains.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Autumn colors

Fall colors, Arches paper, 27 x 21 cm
Autumn colors in Toronto
 The weather here has cooled. The mornings are getting quite cold and the day temperatures are hardly above 10 C. The trees got the message and quickly changed into their autumn attire. There are several places in the city, where the display of yellows, oranges, reds and greens is as picturesque as it can get. Unfortunately, it is too cold and windy to try to paint outside. I tried just taking pictures, but the sun was not cooperating either. Nevertheless, the colorful forests gave me enough inspiration to do the above sketch when I got home.
The maple tree seeds below I picked from the path, attracted by the lovely warm colors produced when touched by sun-light.

Maple seeds, Arches paper, 27 x 21 cm

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crossing the bridge

Bridge in Vancouver, Arches paper 40 x 30 cm
This is based on a friend's photo, taken while crossing one of Vancouver's bridges on a motorcycle. The fused colors of the evening lights and reflections seemed perfect for a watercolor. I did it in three washes. Maybe if I could have finished in less washes the colors would have been fresher, but I'm not unhappy with the result.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Indian summer and outdoors sketching

At the cafe, live sketch, 23 x 18 cm
Last weekend was nice and warm, Indian Summer or Gypsy Summer type of weather. Great time to ride my new bike, after an almost thirty years break. It is true that this is something you never forget. I realize now what a perfect means of transportation the bicycle is for painting en plein air. Well, it may be a bit late for that this year already, but I can make plans and dream for next year's warm season...

An office building, sketch, 23 x 18 cm
A patch of red sumac, sketch, 23 x 18 cm