Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Watercolor and writing

These are my two favorite things (as opposed to family and friends who don't even count as things). I love to do both.

Today was watercolor day. All day, I sat with my paints working on a little picture of a vase and some flowers. I finished the vase and flowers several weeks ago, but I lacked the courage to begin the back
ground. Somehow I was sure I would mess up, so I left it on my desk.

Today I decided to do that background. I painted the background wet on wet, which means I wet the paper, waited until it soaked in, then carefully dropped paint onto the wet paper and watched it spread. I love doing that. The paint doesn't go farther than the wet paper, so if you're careful with the water, it only goes where you want it to be.

Wet on wet allows you to drop more than one color on the page and watch them compete for space. They don't mix unless you
brush them. So, one color flows along, and the other color competes for space. Today it was the lovely red/orange color of burnt sienna and the dark and stormy Payne's gray. I painted with the burnt sienna first, then dipped the grey into the corners to form shadows and such. It's fun to watch.

Then, just as the burnt sienna and Payne's grey settled down, I dipped a pale bit of alizarin red into the mix. Yummy! To make it more fun, I lifted some of the paint with a Kleenex. This left a whitish spot on the paper, but it was still wet. Paint flowed into the white spot and made a paler mix of the colors.
So they're all there in the background. You can see each color separately and the overall effect is a beautiful rusty orange darkened in places with the gray and sparked with the red.

The reason I was reluctant to start the background was because the foreground was a lovely pale vase with white roses in it. I was afraid that it would be overwhelmed by the bright background. Was it? No, it set it off and I have something pretty to hang on my wall.

The overall result of the day was not only the painting, not only lunch with my friend, but also a sense of relaxation, delight, and accomplishment. Why shouldn't I pursue something that gives me such satisfaction?

No reason at all. Still, in the back on my mind Maxie is waiting. Maxie is a character in the murder mystery I'm writing. Last thing I wrote, she entered a strange house in the dark. She was at the top of the stairs when a big earthquake hit. Maxie was tossed back into the stairwell and fell down the stairs to a little landing. That's where she waited out the earthquake in the dark. Afraid and alone.

So, after a day of painting, I've got to go and rescue Maxie. I need to know how she survived and what she decides to do about the house. It's tough work, but someone's got to do it.


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