Friday, June 23, 2006

The things you find when you surf...

Here's an interesting site I came across yesterday while web-surfing, following "the lynx trail" through cyberspace. When I first got a computer, I would do this for hours at a time, amazed at all the info that was available. This is another informative site, this time about watercolors. And Painterskeys is an informative newsletter for painters sent out twice a week by Robert Genn (the replies are often as good as the article itself).

Of course, just doing it is the main thing when it comes to painting outdoors, but sometimes a little information can prime the pump to get you started. Like skiing, horseback riding and making pottery, it's at least 90% practice, but it helps if you know what to practice.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Watercolor Canvas

Watercolor canvas is the new kid on the block, and we're looking it over. It requires different techniques from the way you paint on paper, and there are e-books and DVDs arriving to tell about it. Here is a link to an e-book that is in the works. The advantage is that you can make changes, lifting or wiping away areas with a brush, paper towel or sponge. It's not as absorbent as paper, so it's important to let each layer dry before painting over it. Even then, the paint will lift unless you to a quick once-over-lightly for the second coat. Some people prefer to add guache to get better coverage, or to add acrylic gel medium for the top layers (this would of course be permanent). The canvas texture seems a bit coarse for portrait painting, as the color sinks into the weave. On the plus side, it's fun to have the grid of the canvas to guide verticle or horizontal lines, and the texture acts almost like pixels, so you can add tiny dots to make subtle changes of color or value. It's also fun to be able to push the paint around until it looks right. The real key is using *fresh* paint, and don't be afraid to make it bright or very dark, since it's easy to lift it out. A final coat (or two) of acrylic varnish makes a durable, permanent surface that can then be framed without glass.