While in lockdown, I've invited friends and family to tell me of people dear to them who are in the front lines of the battle against Covid-19 and who might like a thank-you painting. And so, this post is about making some of those paintings. Here is a brief introduction to the task inviting you to participate - in painting or in also doing paintings for people putting themselves at risk to help others.
So, here we go. The colors I used are indigo blue, dioxazine violet and cobalt turquoise light for the sky and yellow ochre, burnt umber and burnt sienna for the beach. Finally, peach black for the seagulls. If you don't have one or more of these, improvising is fine.
The reflections in this painting require leaving a lot of white on the page. So as you'll see in the next video, I started by wetting the fine-grained Aquarelle paper where clouds might be started and dropping in color - in this case indigo. Notice that the clouds start to form even without my help -- especially if a little luck is your companion. I'm doing this with one hand while holding the camera, so any precision I might have preferred is challenged, but the idea is to enjoy.
So, now we're ready to drop in some dioxazine violet. The process is the same. We wet the paper and drop in the color. It takes some experimentation to learn how much to drop in, but it's possible to wipe away too much color in most cases. So, see what works for you.
TMuch of the rest of the painting is a matter of wetting the paper, dropping in color, moving it around with a brush, sponge, paper towel or lifting the paper and letting some flow of color happen that you can stop with your sponge or paper towel if it starts to get out of control. Or pull the extra color upward.
In the next short video, we begin the sea with a smaller brush. I'm using a number 5 sable brush here and a good amount of indigo with very little water. If you don't want to lose the white in the sea and sand, you can paint on some masking fluid before painting near those sections. Peel it off when you're ready to put some light blue lines as waves into the white areas or bits of yellow ochre or burnt sienna in the sand. The darker bits in the sand, are burnt sienna, creating a textured look using a beautiful accent color that actually can be seen on beaches. Remember, we're creating an impression with this painting, not reality. Yet, even impressions benefit from a likeness with the scene - even as we take artistic liberties to create a painting with passion.
After painting today, I listened to Professor Ellen Langer talk to members of the International Women's Forum about mindfulness. She discussed how we can make what seems mundane while we're secluded in our homes due to Covid-19 into novel ways of looking at our lives. Rather than get cabin fever, we can take up painting or gardening, for example. She mentioned that the idea is to not think in terms of a large project, but in terms of smaller bits. It's a rare author who writes a book in a day. Nearly the same is true for painting.
You can complete a watercolor like the one we're working on in one sitting. But it could be tiring. Besides, letting a section or layer dry may allow you to return with a whole different perspective. So, let's stop here unless you want to keep going on your own, working away on the sky or sea. Whatever brings pleasure is the main thing. Langer also mentioned that mindfulness involves seeing our surroundings differently or making subtle changes in our routines. Activities are not mindful or not mindful, what we bring to them makes all the difference. So, paint for enjoyment. These paintings are being done for people who are doing wonderful things to keep others safe and alive during the pandemic we're facing. If we enjoy the painting, find novelty in each stroke, they'll feel and see that when the paintings are in their hands.
In way of introduction, you'll want to see the "About" page by clicking on that above. In short, this site is sharing ways to paint and maybe we'll get into writing as well sometimes. I'm a professor emerita of business and preventive medicine, author of nonfiction books on politics, negotiation and communication. And, since the early onset of Parkinson's, I've become an artist and a fiction author. Many of the paintings are of West Cork, Ireland where I live. My debut novel, Shadow Campus, is a fast-paced mystery thriller described by Forbes as a "masterful debut." The second crime mystery novel is Damned If She Does (2020) described by Kirkus Reviews as "informed and searing" and "a page-turning success." I hope you'll enjoy this site as it emerges and we paint together whether you have PD or not. I'll do my best to share what I've learned and continue to learn. We'll start with some watercolors and then introduce oils as well. Thanks for coming by. Kathleen Kelley Reardon