They can’t all be gems.
Sometimes when I take a photo, I know it’s going to be a painting. I just don’t know when I’ll get around to actually painting it.
It can be days. Or years.
I took this one a year ago.
I started painting it last May.
And then put it away, and started it again.
And then put it away and started it again.
And then it was summer, and fishing started,. So even though it was 95% done, I put it away again for 4 months.
Now, it’s FINALLY finished.
And I am DONE with it.
(Phew! This was painful).
Some days when you paint, you can’t do any wrong.
The pigments and water seem to literally dance on the sheet.
The brilliant colors blend and merge exactly as you want them to…it’s a magical feeling.
And at the end of the day, you have a satisfied feeling, like a cat that’s caught the canary, that you’ve pulled off another great painting.
Today wasn’t one of those days.
My first attempt was to paint this scene:
When I came back, I found something had inadvertently touched the still-wet sky and had left some marks.
This is beyond repair. You can’t fix this.
Some people might say “Oh, Friar, that’s nothing. Nobody will notice that.”
But the point is…I’LL KNOW.
And anyone looking at the painting, will zoom on on these white blemishes, and that’s the only thing they’ll notice.
So I decide to cut my losses, and quit while I’m ahead.
But not without adding some editorial comments of my own.
There was still an hour left to the class, so I decided to start another “easy’ painting.
Unfortunately, I messed up the full moon. The masking compound didn’t cover the area properly, and the moon was lopsided.
And, again, there was nothing I could do to fix this.
So I added some more editorial comments.
And for good measure, I include a giant mutant squirrel wreaking havoc in the woods.
I call him “Chuk-Tor”.
Here’s a simple Northern Ontario scene, just the lake, trees and sky. The kind I’ve done time and time again.
But I like painting these scenes. I just love the scraggly black spruce trees of the boreal forest. It reminds me that I’m “up there”, far away from the big cities and shopping malls. And that the fish will soon be biting.
The painting was not so simple, though. Decievingly difficult, actually.
The sky wasnt’ too bad. But the reflection in the water were tricky. The ripples in the foreground made hard edges, which is difficult to capture on watercolor without making the painting look harsh.
I tried to paint the ripples on, but it was on the verge of looking like crap. Then my art teacher suggested a trick:
Instead of adding pigment to make the water ripples, take it away. Lift the paint off with a brush, and leave a few white areas. But not too many.
It worked. I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out.
And it helped salvage the painting.
People often ask me how long it takes to do a painting.
I’ll tell them: “Twenty years”.
Mabye a few hours to actually do the painting. That’s the EASY part.
The tricky part is the 2-3 decades of practice…practice….PRACTICE! that it takes to get to that point.
I didn’t realize how much practice, till I put all my paintings on the floor.
These are only from circa ~2000 to the present.
Now, mind you, these are only the “Good” ones I’m willing to show people.
This doesn’t count the many MANY rejects I’ve done.
Or the countless studies from art class (I still have a whole other box of this shit at my Mom’s house).
Or the 25 or so that I’ve given away as gifts to close friends or family members. .
Or the 40-50 (approx) that that I’ve sold here and there.
Or the others hanging on my walls or at my parent’s house.
And that’s just for watercolors. This doesn’t include pencil sketches, cartoons, charcoal, drawing excercises, etc…
And I don’t even do this for a living. This is just a hobby.
Imagine what a FULL-TIME artist does…?
Anyway, this blog post has taught me a two things
1) Geez, I’ve invested a LOT of time and money into my painting.
2) I definitely need to GET OUT more! 😉