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Day 22 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 22, 2018

Day 22, and 25/30!

I wonder if you will be surprised to hear – I’m getting a little tired of watercolor.

If you’re still with us from day one, you might be feeling the same :)

I try to stay positive around here – but this ridiculous project is getting to be a second job :)

Who’s crazy idea was this? hey? I feel like I need a holiday!

So these paintings are done from cel-shots taken on our family trip to Laguna Beach this past Dec.

Laguna has to be the nicest place in the world. In every sense of the word.

Say one thing for Laguna – it’s relaxing there.

So – this is what it looks like when I paint for relaxation.

Day 21 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 21, 2018

Day 21, and 23/30 paintings!

I have a size that I’m the most comfortable with. 1/4 sheet. (11×15″), or even a little smaller.

It’s the scale where I have an instinctive knowledge of how much paint to mix, how far wet will travel, and what my typical brushes will do. (#3/4 DaVinci Artissimo Mop and #7 or 8 Winsor and Newton Artist’s Watercolor Sable Pointed Round).

When trying for larger paintings, I have to inch up to them.

Painting a few 1/2 sheets to warm up, then failing a few times at full sheet. Until gradually I’m ‘tuned’ for the larger brushes and bigger paint puddles required. It’s kind of weird how you get used to things.

I suppose what a person should do is paint a full sheet every day for 30 days :) That might be something to do….in the future…sometime…much…later.

So anyway, I failed this one a few times at 1/ 2sheet size. Tore them up. Painted this little one at my familiar 1/4 sheet.

And I didn’t even use the whole sheet. I’m infected by instagram – looking at all these squares.

BTW, This one was painted from a photo, taken from the observation deck of a local college at the end of the USK symposium in Chicago last year.

Day 20 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 20, 2018

I’m stretching yesterday’s mini-sketches into the second day, by giving you some step-by-step of this broken silhouette.

By the way – by my count, that’s 22/30 paintings on day 20! So we are even a little ahead of target!

How is everyone else doing?


Day 19 : #30x03DirectWatercolor2018

June 19, 2018

Hey! I went outside for an entire day of painting!

Just little postcards. Done on the run. Taking my time, strolling and sketching like a tourist in my own town.

Pretty amazing hey. (When you get a chance to do that).

Things are topsy-turvy around the house. (#eldercare #forgetaboutit). Any given day, something random can derail all plans.

So I made a deal to go off on my own for the entire day. Running around our old neighborhood – taking only a few drawing boards and the Art-Toolkit mini palette.

These are two-up on a 1/4 sheet. So that makes them about 7″ wide and random in height.

There’s nothing too serious going on. Just having fun, out on a beautiful summer day, making puzzle shapes. Trying to connect a block, or set of houses anyway, into a single broken-shape.

Well, sort of a single shape, but with some tiny white gaps to allow for edges, and, then going back and re-stating darks.

When I’m just having fun like this, the shapes get a little wiggly. No consistent perspective.

I kind of like the randomness :)

It’s fun to look at how much my drawing has changed. Here’s this same spot from my pen and ink days.

Just one slice of a concertina sketchbook, done back in 2015.

I have to say, in support of Maria’s clever invention – this is why I love the Art-Toolkit mini-palette. I’m getting old enough to want the lightest possible paint-box if I’m going to be holding up the drawing board for a full day. It’s kind of amazing how much difference this small thing makes – not having a full-sized box clamped onto the corner of your board.

It’s always the same: the less you bring, the more you draw!


Day 18 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 18, 2018

No Post Today! I’m tied up with some contract work.

I do have a mid-point update from Suhita for you!

Suhita Says:

At the halfway point of #30x30DirectWatercolor2018, and I’m looking back at the half-month with some thoughts.

If you aren’t a natural direct-watercolorist, (I’m not!) then this is a HARD challenge! To see exclusively in shape and yet keep a piece from being overworked takes a whole lot of focus. The impulse to just pick up a pen and finish the piece is strong!

Some subjects are easier to get loose with because they’re forgiving. Like this landscape with simple perspective.  Knowing I didn’t have to get the “drawing” right meant I was free to focus on capturing the feel of the blazing heat. I couldn’t resist painting in the two figures: to me, they add a story to the piece.

I was quite pleased with this next piece because it combined many challenges for me: painting a person/people without line, creating the feel of space and activity without getting too specific. And, the piece is darker, literally, than a lot of what I paint.

On other days I just took it easy and painted stuff I understood well and had painted before. Like this skull that sits on my studio table, a ready model whenever I need one. I lost painted this on the wrong side of a sheet of Arches paper.(The other side was used for a rather unsuccessful piece). Doing this totally takes the pressure off creating a ‘good piece’ and it’s amazing how much it adds to flow and looseness. if only I could convince myself to work like this more!

All my piece use white gouache. I use it like I would another color, and while I try to save my big whites, I never save smaller ones if I feel it makes me work tightly just to keep the white paper.

So what have I learned so far? (Besides that this is hard work?)

  • Seeing in shape-first is slowly becoming less difficult.
  • I am enjoying watching watercolor move on the paper with no line to hold it within bounds, and I’m learning a lot about pigments and transparency in the process.
  • If I hang on for another few weeks and work at this, there will be more insights and progress.
    Suhita Shirodkar
    Instagram: @suhitasketch

Day 17 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 17, 2018

No post today – working away at the computer. So here’s a little digital sketch of a carp. (Photoshop CS)

It’s Father’s Day here in the west. My stepfather has never been particularly into fathers day, and now that he’s into his second childhood, I was thinking the eastern tradition of Children’s Day would be more appropriate. In Japan they fly flags of carp, in reference to the heroic fable of my namesake, Momotaro.

See you tomorrow!

Day 16 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018

June 16, 2018

 [ The Parking Garage Series, CLEARANCE 7’2″ ]

So, I was talking somewhere in these posts, about how the Cycle of Preciousness works for me.

You’re worried about your painting turning out, but, the more you stress the more you hate it, until finally, you give up. You’re going to rip it up, quit painting forever.

That’s when suddenly things flip.

It doesn’t matter now, so you just TRY something. Something wild. Something irresponsible. Some crazy thing that’s never going to work.

That’s me and watercolor right now.


 [ The Parking Garage Series, HANDICAPPED PARKING ]

This little series is asking:

How would you paint, if it didn’t matter whether they turned out?

What would you do if you didn’t care if anyone liked it?