Thursday, June 24, 2010


I'm calling this 'Sunset on Pluto'. I don't know if Pluto even has a sun much less a sunset but that's what popped into my head when this was dry.

Love the little tendrils the paint forms working wet into damp. Nick Simmons calls them dendrites(sp?).

Here I didn't wait for the dried perm yellow to fully reconstitute before pouring. After the painting was dry I brushed away the tiny 'chunks' of paint to reveal what I thought looked like a field of yellow daisies.

Even though watercolor has the ability to be reactivated on the palette after drying , some colors like cerulean blue like to remain in nugget form no matter how much water you add so I left them on the paper. I liked the look! I think I also see the ubiquitous cat hair that seems to show up in all my paintings.

One of my favorite tricks to create texture involves spraying a fine mist of water over (not directly on) damp paint. This creates tiny blooms that add a neat effect. I'm not sure if it's visible in this image, tho. The purple you see is Dioxazine Purple fluid acrylic by Da Vinci. I applied it straight from the bottle onto wet paper. After it was dry I dripped on some cerulean blue watercolor, fully reconstituted. Applied onto the dry fluid acrylic, it retained it's vibrancy and it's semi-opaque qualities created a really cool passage in the painting.

Here fluid acrylic is interacting with straight watercolor, wet into damp. It's fun to play with your paint and you can learn a great deal in the process.

When you mention watercolor I doubt most people immediately think 'texture'. Sure, you can take a brush and recreate texture...the textures found in nature, in man made objects, etc. What I find intriguing is the exciting and often times unexpected textures that simply happen when working with watercolor. I'm also discovering that those same wildly interesting textures can be achieved with fluid acrylics used as watercolors.

I had some yogurt cups on the shelf in my studio that contained long dried watercolor from a pour I had done last year. I almost threw them out as there was nothing but a thin crust of dry paint left in them. Then I thought ...well, I'll try to reconstitute them and see what happens. When I think texture in watercolor I think of Ann Blockley's book, Watercolour Textures . I've referred to this book on my blog more than once. Her beautifully textured backgrounds in the book make her subjects almost incidential....almost. Somehow she manages to balance the subject matter and the background so the subject is not lost but rather enhanced by it. Anyhoo, I'm posting my results with the dried paint. No subject, just lots of pouring to see what happens.

Side note: Speaking of backgrounds...I received my August issue of Watercolor Artist yesterday. On the cover is a beautiful painting of bearded irises by Heidi Lang Parrinello. The actual painting is large...60" x 40", the attention to detail and skill involved in painting these irises is undeniable and must be stunning to see IRL but I have one problem with it...the background. I can only assume the problem lies with the crop for the cover but the over abundance of colorful and amorphous shapes in her background is extremely distracting and not only is it distracting but also looks so contrived. I suspect she did one heck of a lot of lifting to achieve that effect, too. I enjoyed looking through her portfolio on her website. She does seem to like busy backgrounds.


Unknown said...

Billie, this is awesome!! Isn't it fun when an experiment turns out so great?
I love Ann Blockley's book too, I never get tired of looking at it and enjoy trying out her techniques.

Billie Crain said...

Thanks, Patty! Totally spontaneous and totally fun to do.:) I love Ann's book. Wish I could spend a day looking over her shoulder as she paints.

Vera Dennen said...

Billie, can't find what size this is. Probably there, but got lost in paintings awesomeness!!!!

Billie Crain said...

It's only 15" x 5 1/2", Vera. I cut up Syd 2(decided that was a bust)and used one of the pieces for this painting. I'm trying to use up leftovers and screw ups. Glad you like it! It's certainly colorful.

Tracey said...

oooh I love love love it! thanks for posting all the detail shots, very cool.

Billie Crain said...

Wild, isn't it Tracey?:D