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Watercolor Apocalypse at the Theatre Rialto

April 20, 2012

So there I was, sketching up in Outremont, at the Theatre Rialto on Parc. It’s a beautiful day, I’m thinking I’m just going to hang out and do a nice sketch.  Little did I know I was heading into The Watercolor Apocalypse.

The story goes like this:

Wow, this is such a cool building, I really dig the repetition in the façade.

But it’s sort of a flat fronted thing, and I’m jammed up close to it, what can I do to make this more exciting?

I know! How about a really aggressive line drawing in ink – I won’t even worry about perspective, this will be really cool!

Oh wait – no ink in my bag. Oh well, no worries, I’ll just use Paynes Grey.

La, di, da, drawing away – really liking the expressive line,  people stopping by to chat, moms pointing out the nice artist to kids.

Hmm…we have a wicked aggressive drawing now – what about a touch of color. Just a hint of the sandstone.

BABOOOMM! Explosion of pigment! Big blobs of semi-solid pigment ballooning color everywhere!!!! Kids fleeing, storm clouds gathering.  People rush by with eyes averted.

Apparently, spackling on the watercolor is not like drawing in ink AT ALL.

Beads of sweat flying,  try scrubbing out with stiff brush – nasty blue grey smearing everywhere, the nice drawing vanishes, and so does every bit of white on the page. All contrast is lost! My beautiful reserved whites!

AIEEE! Must try some opaque highlights to pull this back! Slashing now with the brush. Stabbing highlights onto the page. But what is this! Am I seeing things? The dabs of white gouache darkening before my eyes. Invaded from below by the insidious Paynes grey.

I am bested – driven from the field. There is nothing left but to wave the white flag of paper towel.

This thing gets a scrubbing like Cinderella doing the grout with a tooth brush. Thank goodness for real watercolor paper.

By accepting defeat and giving up, I accidentally do the right thing.  I walk away disgusted, and let the soaked paper dry completely.

After that, I can touch in some gouache that doesn’t melt instantly this time, re-state the darks with real ink, and resort to some contrast correction in photoshop. And finally, stick it in the pile of paper that gets a life drawing on the back.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. itsathought2 permalink
    April 20, 2012 7:35 PM

    The “happy accident”. Or apocalypse. Whichever. Its wonderful!

  2. April 20, 2012 8:33 PM

    Your description of your drawing session is sooo funny — I love the result! It just feels like KABOOM!

  3. April 20, 2012 8:33 PM

    And just wanted to let you know that I work with Shari B. — this is how I linked to your blog ;-)

  4. April 20, 2012 9:29 PM

    The proof is in the pudding. It looks great. As for the caprices of watercolour painting……

  5. Tom permalink
    April 20, 2012 11:25 PM

    Great story and awesome painting! Even your mistakes look beautiful.

  6. April 21, 2012 6:56 AM

    I’m so glad you posted this Marc. It is a great story and it makes me feel better about posting my disaster yesterday although my downward spiral wasn’t nearly as well described as yours.

  7. April 21, 2012 7:03 AM

    H Marc, this post is very inspirational on a number of levels… very interesting effects and I enjoyed the read imensely!?!


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