>Watercolor Sunflower dealy

>Note: When at class, I have found doing at least two paintings at a time is better since you want to let the areas you are painting dry well before working more on it.

Lynne showed me the mechanics of painting a watercolor sunflower today. Her style is loose and flowing, confident and exploratory and with her guidance, I was able to paint the pretty one here. It wasn’t easy to allow the freedom and accept that colors outside the pre-drawn lines were OK, and we could work with them, but I got to see that that is part of the beauty of such works. I also learned more about complementary colors (across the wheel from one another, using these opposites often produces a really eyecatching effect.) And she had me drop a few sprinkles of salt on the paper to give the paint an opportunity to dry splotchy, hinting at textures that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. We also sprayed a little alcohol on for that same reason. My sunflower is by no means a great work of art, but it was a start in learning this new, far more relaxed style of watercolor painting which I’m sure I will enjoy!

In the second painting, you’d never know it but I find it very hard to loosen up. This one is from a photo I took years ago at Black Rock Village, Thomaston, CT. where we used to live. I painted this, as the photo looked, mostly in dark greens, blues and such. But then, Hazel came by and with the touch of her magic paintbrush on my paper, she softened it, gave it the sparkle and brilliant color, and voila!

Despite practically reworking my whole paper, she did say she liked my grasses and weeds that had been painted at water’s edge and the overall composition of the picture at least. This watercolor painting stuff is hard!

When I got home, I applied a little trick Lynne had taught me to the second one which I think made it look even better. I accentuated some edges with a microfine marker to suggest tree branches better, different tones and textures, and layers of the painting. Hazel cautioned, though, that using markers like this can damage the longevity of a painting. But as these are learning works, I figured I can start here and move to a really fine brush when I get better at it.

By Maura Satchell, contemporary artist and writer

Contemporary artist, seeker, writer. Curious to a fault. I let the fates take me where they will and never say no to an adventure. That has led me on some heart-stirring journeys and impetuous choices. I regret nothing.

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