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Day Six : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Ding Ding! It’s Mr. Tram!

June 6, 2020

I do like this one!

But – I also feel it’s too cute :) Almost like a children’s book illustration.

This was a small square outside our window in Lisbon. Every night there was a party at that cafe. Live music and people out on the street till all hours of the night. I suppose it was kind of fun, having that night-life. For the first few days anyway.

Sigh. I was born an old man, and I’m just now aging into it :)

Here’s the reference photo. Maybe you can see what I was trying to get at – with the sense of busy night life.

I didn’t quite make it down to these deep warm darks that are in the photo. It’s probably a matter of needing some different pigments. Cad Orange Deep maybe. And I need to stop being afraid of the black. Some people even mix India ink with watercolor. I don’t know what’s stopping me trying that.

Anyway – I know I can getting the hang on how much pigment vs. how much water. (Hint – the answer is always More Pigment Than You Think).

Unlike oils, with watercolor you can’t see what you’re mixing till it goes down on the paper. This is particularly hard with darks. Past a certain point, every dark looks the same till it begins to dry. I suppose, a person could try test swatches on spare sheets, but IDK man. That doesn’t seem very ‘Direct’.

For me, it’s a matter of drilling – practicing – repetition – until paint mixing becomes second nature again.

Anyway, I just went by instinct, because, it’s what I do, and I’m happy with what I got.

Besides the night-time mood – my other goal was powering through the crowd. Nicely grouping those people scattered in the square, not losing patience, making each one a character. It’s an endurance test. Trying to paint something like this and not lose your observational focus.

Another goal was coming up with a rendition of the mosaic cobblestones. I knew I was never going to draw the pattern exactly. That would have drawn far too much attention into the center. The tram is supposed to be the real focal point. I’m pretty pleased with how the pattern came out in a fan of simple strokes.

Blop, Blop, Blop – floor done.

I clearly remember thinking before the first stroke – this either works or it doesn’t! I sure hope I didn’t just waste a lot of time on those people!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Bernadette permalink
    June 6, 2020 6:25 AM

    Stunning! You simplify the complex with such ease…or so it seems. Much time in painting again and again has led the way to such satisfaction. It is a delight to see such a passion. Thank you.

  2. Joyce Stein permalink
    June 6, 2020 7:35 AM

    There is so much to see in this painting and I enjoyed seeing the close up details you showed. This really helps see all the ‘painting’ you do to get the overall atmosphere in this painting. Very well done!

  3. Wicked Old permalink
    June 6, 2020 7:49 AM

    I was born an old woman. I recall yelling at all the other babies in the hospital nursery to “Pipe down! I’m trying to get some sleep here!” Love this watercolor!

    • Wicked Old permalink
      June 7, 2020 6:30 AM

      Apparentlyy comment is so offensive that it will await moderation forever. Lesson learned.

  4. Susan permalink
    June 6, 2020 8:24 AM

    It IS fun, but I wouldn’t call it cartoonish. It captures the essence of the night life. I love it!

  5. Kate permalink
    June 6, 2020 11:21 AM

    I wouldn’t call it cartoonish. It is a very dramatic painting. Thanks for showing the reference photo. I always struggle with how to simplify.

  6. Mary Klotz permalink
    June 7, 2020 8:24 AM

    I was glad you included the reference photo, because I was confused by the gray oval shapes- they look like cast shadows to me. Ah, they are indicating the pattern on the plaza floor, and doorways/window on the building behind. Darker darks?


  1. Day Six : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Ding Ding! It’s Mr. Tram! – chic us

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