June 9, 2010

Still Life With Bicolor Cat - Step One

There is great excitement in the studio this week as I've started work on a new watercolor painting. Thanks to the input of readers last month, this pose of artist model Buttonwillow was chosen for the composition:

First I sketched out the basic composition on a separate piece of paper. I don't want to sketch directly on the (expensive) watercolor paper because when I sketch, there will be lots of erasing and re-working involved, and that will ruin the surface of the watercolor paper.

Something that I love about the creative process is what we call "artistic license". I decided simplify the table and to extend it horizontally to give the composition a strong but uncomplicated foundation at the bottom. I also removed one of the tulips so that more of the painting in back would show, and I extended Buttonwillow's tail by un-curling it a bit.


With the help of my studio assistant, I traced the composition onto tracing paper After re-tracing the lines on the BACK of the tracing paper, I flipped it right side up on top of the watercolor paper, and went over the lines one more time to transfer the image onto the watercolor paper beneath.

I dampened the back of the watercolor paper, then taped it to my drawing board. I dampened the front of the paper, then set it aside to dry. This is called "stretching" -- the paper swells up slightly, then shrinks as it dries, making the paper nice and taut and less likely to warp or buckle. It also "primes" the paper and makes it more receptive to water-based paints and will absorb the paint more evenly...


NEXT... the underpainting! Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Jaime Haney aka ArtsyFartsy.Me said...

Gotta love that artistic license! and what a beautiful model.

I love your walking us through your process. I am learning a lot! Keep the tips coming... thank you!