Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drake with GF - Final Version Before the Round File

As I was the designated driver in our van with five other artists last night to the monthly AAG meeting, I was explaining that I was ready to pitch this painting and start again. BFF Barb was especially sorry to hear that since she saw what I was working on at the beginning. So, I decided to shamefacedly display it here as a permanent monument to remind myself that I need to paint much more often than I have lately and regain my "touch" (assuming I HAD one) with paint. This looks so amateurish to me that I cannot imagine how I let this happen. I do think I learned a few things in doing this, however:
  • I will forthwith NEVER use masking fluid to this degree AGAIN! I love the detail on the tree bark, but not the true whites I preserved with the masking fluid, they are too large (my masking fluid I had with me had thickened, preventing finer lines). Those twigs floating on the water being a case in point - if the whites get lost without the masking fluid, I will deal with it somehow, but not have to live with the shapes created with the masking fluid
  • I will look through my photos of this pair and find one with the female sitting and preening (she did that a lot, preen). Those legs are ridiculous
  • I absolutely love Prussian Blue and will use that more directly instead of so many glazes, using the mixed grays as glazes to tone down the shadow area
  • I will lose that levee in the background, it looks like it came from a child's coloring book - bad shape
  • I also did learn that I still LOVE painting for painting's sake. The time spent on creating this was very enjoyable to me and I need to get back to the state where I do not create such wooden shapes (like that levee) and just let what is inside my creative center come out and play. The not-so-frequent painting I have done for the past few months seems to have impaired some of that and I want to get back there again, soon! Come back instincts!
Pardon the stream-of-consciousness dribble this morning, but if I am to use this blog as a true journal you get to see the good with the bad. (I feel better now).


Gwendolyn said...

1) Your amateurish = my very best work.
2) Daniel Smith now offers mask in a pen form attached to a plastic bottle, with 5 fine-point tips for applying the mask.
3) Masquepen has a similar offering with fewer tips.
Since I could buy the Masquepen in a local art store, I did. It works much better for me than using a brush or the Incredible Nib ever did. The next time I order to DS I will buy their mask with tips.
4) You should be able to paint over some of the areas you have masked out. NOTE: masking fluid can get old (anecdotal information says it lasts about 12 - 18 months in the bottle), and then it becomes hard to paint in those areas.
To soften the edges of an area you have masked, you will need a stiff brush, like a hog bristle, and some patience and courage. This can make a third value, between white and whatever, and provide a transition as well as allow you to mop up the loosened and moved paint to control the size of your white space.
5) And one final observation: you have been posting a lot of photos lately, from your travels, and I think (it's true for me, big time) that photography makes me forget / feel guilty that artists have the choice to change anything in the scene that doesn't work in their paintings. Photographs inspire literalism, and why be literal when you can draw and paint and be creative?
Of all the challenges for me in learning to paint, this one is NUMBER ONE! In my case, because I'm so afraid that I can't render a realistic image of reality!
As an art student friend says, "Well, you can always do it again." That's a big thing she learned after high school and before Pratt!
So glad you enjoy[ed] the process of putting paint to paper!

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...


I have successfully softened the edges left by masking fluid in this way, but this time what I was the most disappointed in was the fact that the shapes I created with the fluid were too large, too numerous and just plain wrong. I think I would have done a better job with just leaving the whites, such as with drybrush on the tree bark.

I quit working on this and will probably just start another one some time, using a different approach. Had I finished this I would have added more darks to the drake and refined it much more. However, I don't want to go farther with this one. For my next victim I will paint something holiday-ish for our greeting card, still haven't done that and the time is approaching!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was good of you to offer suggestions and moral support! Do you have a blog? I am not finding it by clicking on your name.

RHCarpenter said...

Gosh you are being hard on yourself, Susan! If this was mine, I would dab in a few touches of orange-red on the beaks, the legs, and that tree, pulling our eyes around the painting. It sure doesn't look so bad to me but I know what you mean when you have something inside that doesn't come out the way you have it inside!

Ruth said...

Dear Susan. I think you got tired working on this painting and analyzed it with tired eyes. I think this is a neat composition; good color combinations; interesting subjects; clean colors; great shading; the grass areas are placed in good spots, varied in color, style, shape; the geese are doing interesting things, are well drawn, shaped & shaded w/colors that make those shapes and make them charming and believable.
Although the tree is the perfect foil for the scene, I think by keeping all the white areas white on them, it makes the tree compete w/the true focus: the swans. So my thoughts are: tone down all the whites on the bark into shades of tans . The shape of the tree will make it outstanding because it is so interesting. I think if you do that the logs in the water will be just perfect as is. (I like the logs, really.) The geese will become the prominent focus and the levee won't look amateurish any longer.
Since your light is coming from right, put some form shadows stretching out from the geese. I see one. Do two even if they're not in photo.
The blue in the upper portion & the brown bush on upper right are competing with the important lower, so if you'd glaze the blue's complement over it to let it recede into a supporting role and mysterious area, and the distance and darken bush so it's just a silhouette, the top section wouldn't compete w/the central focus.
And lastly do to the geese what Rhonda suggested. That little color of orange-red will add a little extra punch. To put it in another spot, you could also add just some touches in the reeds on the left.
Don't throw it into file 13. It really is quite good.

Doris said...

This painting is only a few strokes away from being wonderful. I've probably gotten in too late but my suggestion is for the legs. I think 3-4 strokes (blades)of grass shooting up from the area in front of an around the legs is all you need to give the impression that the lower leg and feet are down in the grass. Just a thought.