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   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Monday, December 12, 2011
  watercolors


Last week I saw Sean Scully's watercolors at the Chazen Museum in Madison, along with a huge room of monumental oil paintings. Though I was awed by the oils, it was the intimate, sensuous surfaces and inventive patterning of the watercolors that I took away with me. Scully's watercolors have a simple, effortless look that belies the difficulties of this medium. (Photos were prohibited in the gallery, unfortunately, but above is an example I found online.)



A few days later I felt the urge to dig out my own watercolor supplies, which usually do not get much use in the studio, and have not been updated in years--I had only a couple of usable brushes and a some very used tubes of paint, some of them dried up, some student grade. As with most art media, you get what you pay for...so I experienced some frustration with brushes shedding hairs and a limited range of paints. Still, I enjoyed playing around, inspired by Scully's simple color divisions and patterns. My own color fields developed a considerable amount of texture, because, of course, that's what I like...I enjoyed working the texture through the dripping and wet-in-wet mixing of color that is characteristic of watercolor. I also worked in some of the gorgeous Unison chalk pastels I brought back from Ireland.



My Christmas gift to myself will be some quality watercolor paints and brushes, because I sense more of these small paintings ahead. I really enjoy the delightful immediacy of watercolor, and it offers plenty of challenge. In fact I tend to think of each watercolor painting as a game or puzzle--can I solve it, make it work, pull it off, or will it dissolve into a muddy mess?
 
Comments:
i recommend the yarka brand of kolinsky sable brushes.

unfortunately the original russian made ones are mostly gone, but richeson sells a replacement version.

these folks have the russian made ones, i believe - https://store.schoolspecialty.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?minisite=10224&item=485472
 
These are beautiful!
 
Incredible, gorgeous--I think that in some ways, the aged watercolors are working for you in terms of the textures you're able to acheive. I look forward to seeing more.
 
Despite your problems, Rebecca, you managed to make a couple of beauties. Who knows what you can do with the proper equipment?
 
Rebecca, these are superb. What are the sizes? Also, I'm curious as to what you might do with some of those interesting Japanese papers that are available. I believe Daniel Smith makes the best watercolors, btw. This is an exciting new path for the New Year! Congrats!
 
thank you all for the great comments and tips! @Diane, these are small, 10x8", 8x6".
 
I just started using watercolors lately! Was always scared of them but found I love their surprises and flow.
I have watercolor field kits stashed everywhere so I don't miss a thing.
 
These are beautiful.
I've never managed successful abstracts in watercolour - "muddy mess" is spot on.
You've inspired me to try again.
 
These two little paintings are wonderful in color, texture, and design. Makes me want to try my hand at this sort of abstract painting. Who knew that watercolor could be so interesting!
 
thanks everyone!
 
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       Rebecca Crowell