Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Blues...the opaque and the transparent qualities of blue hues...Dirndl

Dirndl   Watercolor   20.5 x 13
"Dirndl" was painted from a model who posed in our Monday evening watercolor class.  The model was particularly delighted to pose in her dirndl skirt and vest, as she had lived in Europe for many years and felt nostalgic and emotional about her experiences.  (She performed with the circus!)  My painting was finished at home with the aid of a reference photo.  The bodice area along with the pure white puffy sleeves became sacrosanct.....it has untouched and unrefined areas....everything else was worked around it in a spiraling fashion.  As per usual, I had the most difficulty in the other not-as-important areas.  The bottom of the skirt became much too important.  Hard edges on both the top of the head and the bottom of the boots confined the figure and felt very uncomfortable to me.....I try to avoid these situations entirely.  I finally decided to wash down the bottom half of the work.  In my basement laundry tub, I let a stream of water run down the painting and I carefully avoided the bodice area.  No scrubbing which dulls whites.  Just a lifting off of some of the pigment.  When dry, I decided to rework the bottom with a different blue.  I switched from French Ultramarine, which is opaque, to Pthalo Turquoise which is much more transparent.  The transparency of a particular color is determined by the size of the particles....the smaller the more transparent/the larger the more opaque.  The combination of the Pthalo with yellows also yielded a much more satisfactory green.  Yes!  The work was finished to my satisfaction.

I have never been a book-learner.  I like to rely on my own intuitive way of working.  Reading about the properties of pigments just doesn't take.  I must find out for myself.  A hard lesson to learn sometimes.  Knowing a color's properties can definitely help in the working of a painting.  The switch-over to a more transparent blue made all the difference.  Another lesson learned.

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