After my Decanter series (which I wrote about here), I wanted to experiment with a medium I had not used much. Watercolours were always around, but I mostly avoided them and opted to use gouache instead. My ideas always felt too intense for the delicate paints. Even though I wanted to give watercolours a chance, I was still hesitant.
Before actually painting anything, I just observed other artists. I discovered some interesting techniques and was finally excited to try them out. Then it started to rain and inspiration struck. The transparent paints were the obvious fit for rain.
April Showers Splatter
First, I wet the page to create gloomy yet light clouds using blue and purple hues. Once the cloudy background was dry, I was eager to try to splatter the paint to replicate rain drops. I picked a bright pink colour to hint at spring blooms, and got started with a tiny brush. Then I grabbed a larger brush to create more depth and movement on the page. The watercolours perfectly captured April Showers.
Sunset Drive Blow Painting
Later that week it rained again, only this time I was in a car. The experience felt completely different with the wipers pushing the rain across the windshield. It seemed impossible to replicate until I was reminded of the straw blowing technique. By combining the watercolour with a ridiculous amount of water, you’re able to quickly spread a paint drop with a straw before it dries. Once again, I painted a cloudy spring background as the first layer. Then I mixed colours to create a vibrant orange to represent the rain on a Sunset Drive.
When photographing April Showers for my shop, I walked around Toronto’s waterfront. My intention was to find a shady and green spot, but the painting looked best against a fairly sunny concrete step. I liked how the step seemed to have been affected by the elements, and decided my search was over.
Next I kept an eye out for a good location to photograph Sunset Drive. I looked around for a spot by the highway, but it felt it would distract from the painting. As I was walking home, I noticed a wire fence on the ground of a parking lot. I didn’t know if it was about to be put up or taken away, so I quickly snapped a few pictures. Even though I didn’t have the painting with me, I knew it would make for the perfect backdrop.
If the artwork looks like it’s floating above the fence, now you know why. One thing that helped combine the two images was flattening the painting before photographing it. Even with painters tape, the paper had warped a bit with the amount of water I had used. A large stack of books helped solve the issue, and glassine paper kept the painting protected.
It was definitely worth experimenting with watercolours, and I can’t wait to paint with them again. In the meantime, both April Showers and Sunset Drive are available for sale in the shop.
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