This is a piece that was inspired by some playing I had done a few months ago. I was inspired by Jeannie Dobie’s book Making Color Sing and was exploring the glazing technique she discusses in the book. I also continue examining strokes I have learned from prehistoric artwork.
Today, a friend and I took a trip over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent. This exhibition was incredible – I’ve not seen this many historic watercolor paintings in one setting, to this degree of mastery. There was a great amount of care and thought put into the displays and I loved the videos where they described and demonstrated the specific techniques that were used by the artists. As we progressed through the exhibit, I came upon “A Flower for the Teacher“. As I studied the piece, I saw a real silverfish sitting between the painting and the protective glass, on top of the boy’s vest (viewer’s left). My heart sank when I saw it, knowing how destructive these creatures are to paper. When we left the exhibit, I mentioned the insect to a woman handing out surveys for the museum. Her eyes widened in understanding the danger to this piece, and directed me to the front desk. Once at the front desk, I passed the information on to the staff, who brought over a woman wearing a tour guide sticker. We brought her back upstairs, through the exhibit, to the painting. The tiny silverfish was still on the boy’s vest, but fortunately, not actively munching. Then, we went back downstairs and I filled out a comment card on the incident while the tour guide immediately contacted the conservationist. I was impressed by the concern and immediacy that the staff showed – these works of art are in great hands.
I loved this exhibition and highly recommend it. The effects that the artists made using watercolor were incredible and just not done in oil paintings. Plus, I love how the curator placed this particular art movement in a regional context.
This illustration was an interesting challenge. The metalwork made me really think about what colors really represent gold in light, reflected light and shadows.
This past Christmas, I received a set of watercolor pencils, which I’ve started playing with recently. I’ve found that I prefer applying these pencils after I’ve laid down layers of watercolor paint. Building up these layers adds richness and texture and helps me to better describe the light that has hit the subject and the shadows that are created. For my subject, I used three different source photos, and I changed the color of the wrapper to blue.
About a week ago I sifted through the paintings I made this past year, and I realized that I had already forgotten about some of the work I had done. Usually, when I finish a series, I will scan the images and then toss them into a large plastic bin that I keep under a table. When I was in college, I took a non-credit wheel thrown pottery class that was being given by a fellow student at the university craft center. She told me that when she was taught to wheel throw in high school, she was instructed not to keep any of her work until she had been creating steadily for at least a year. Her teacher told her that often students will become very attached to their first pieces, which are always terrible, and not focus on improving their technique. He wanted them to be always in the moment of current creations, at least in the beginning of their journey. This way, even if they really liked a piece they made, they would develop a faith in their ability to produce even better work in the future. This probably also saved the school a lot of money, since dried clay can be reconstituted for future learning. So my plastic bin is an off-shoot of this technique, except that I don’t want to throw out my paintings, but be able to let them go and look at them objectively months later. Below, I’ve posted a series of seashells I painted in the beginning of November.