My Watercolor Blog : Elizabeth Way

July 21, 2008

finished the challenging birds watercolor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:11 pm


Finally finished the big birds painting; my last working working from a professional photo – this one from Dorling Kindersley’s new huge Birds book (now that I am wise on copyright issues). I just framed it, so big! It was a little scary working framing something so big, I measured and cut the mat myself with the bare minimum tools (a simple ruler, cutting mat and x-acto knife). It is kind of expensive to work big, big mat, big frame, big paint brush, big drawing board.

It turns out I was so happy with the end product – I was floating. I still am a bit when I think about it. It is so big and clean and white and the contrast and lights and the angle of the waters edge and getting it to look like water and the conversation among the birds, the detailed birds and the simple, loose almost asian-painted birds, it turned out so much more than I expected, I am kind of in a happy shock. I really had no idea working that big and the final work would have this impression. So much about the painting itself was challenging and felt overwhelming at times. Many times I felt so lost and like I was painting in the dark. It was bigger than I am used to and I really got the chance to get free and loose while still having some detail, it was like combining my style of 10 years ago: all-imagined subjects-“just go for what you see on the blank page” with the more recent style: imitate a photo with significant detail and lots of color study and planning and layering (with analyzed/researched technique). In this painting the two styles finally got the chance to flow together after all these years. It is more difficult to be impulsive and bright and loud and high contrast with watercolor. With an oil crayon you know what you are getting and you can just let go and start marking up the page. With watercolor, practice and experimenting help you get that loose and still get the effect of bold and free and almost reckless moments in time on the page. Another challenge was the 6 month respite in between when I left this painting and re-startred it. I was naturally in a different mental place when I started and that came out on the page and yet I am seeing the “two” styles compliment and flow on the page. Sorry I don’t have the measurements handy. Here is the image in parts:

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1 Comment »

  1. nice post and great work by the way. its seems very tricky but you’ve really pulled it off.

    Comment by watercolor brush — July 21, 2008 @ 7:53 pm


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