Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jack and Jill

What medium should I use for these nursery rhymes? Here are three attempts, all unfinished, and I have a love-hate relationship with each of them.

Oils (above) blend smoothly and make delicious colours, but the painting part takes forever and then they have to dry for days and days. I find the process finicky and frustrating. On the other hand, there can be some rich and thrilling moments. I accidentally painted blue branches against the purple sky and ended up liking them. Also, I tried to add black lines on the plaid jacket, but instead the rubber-tipped "brush" left yellow tracks in the wet paint. That felt like another happy mistake.

Watercolours (above) can do some nice swirly things, and I do like the watery bits on the blue trousers. But I abandoned this picture because it was feeling too flat and tame. Now I'm having second thoughts. Maybe I can go in and add some dramatic shadows or something. Sometimes when I'm in nothing-to-lose mode, I take a risk that ends up rescuing a dead painting. (But not very often.)

This one was only meant to be a quick sketch. I was trying to work out the colour scheme, and I had already botched a coloured-pencil version (see below--ouch!) So I ran a fresh photocopy and scribbled on it with Prismacolour markers. The whole thing was done in about ten minutes.

Ironically, I like the marker version at least as much as the oil version and the watercolour. And I absolutely love working with those markers. But they aren't meant to last for hundreds of years. They're not like oils or watercolours; over time, the colours will fade.

How much does this matter to me? I'm not sure. I'm still mulling all the pros and cons.

At least I know one thing. This coloured-pencil version has got to go! Yikes!


  1. I like the houses and the swirling snow in the second picture but Jack and Jill in the third picture and I agree the colored pencil version has to go. I love your water color pictures partly because the lines are crisper. Oils have a tendency to blur things. Your blog is a delight.

  2. Holly, thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback. I'm so interested in what you say about watercolour vs oil--thanks! Best wishes to you. JS