Monday, August 29, 2011


Now that my walls are covered with the broad-strokes, it's time to zero in on the details--adding shadows, punching up the contrast between bright and dark colours, and waiting for the "click" feeling that means a picture is finished.

It's strangely nerve-wracking. Things can go wrong at this stage. If I push too far, I can ruin a picture. But if I hang back, the picture feels raw and unresolved. Did Jackson Pollock ever feel this way when he was flinging paint around?

When I stand back and stare at my walls (yes, you've seen my walls!) the weekend's progress isn't obvious. But these before-and-after photos make me feel better. Slowly but surely, things are moving forward. I'll show you some more, soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oonching Forward

My first version of this painting (the middle picture in the photo above) was long and narrow, with a blue sky. But the layouts called for a different shape--and that meant moving the little girl and the two women into a new position, in front of the ship. Since there's no click-and-drag option in watercolour, I had to re-draw and re-paint.

Unfortunately, there's no undo button, either. So when I screwed up the second version by painting the sky yellow and then layering blue on top, I ended up with a mess (the top picture in the photo above.) Check out that puce-coloured sky. What was I thinking?! It looks even worse in real life.

This weekend I had the pleasure of doing-over my previous do-over, and fortunately I was happier with the result.

There are still a few details to add, but this one is almost finished. Let's hope it'll be a case of "third time lucky!"

Meanwhile, here's a slightly-blurry summary of my progress during the past four days. I'm reasonably satisfied, but there's still a lot of work left to do. Next week I'll zoom in on some details so you can see what I mean. Thanks for keeping me company on this long journey!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Closer Look

I thought you might like a break from the endless photos of my wall, so I zoomed-in for a closer look at one picture. It took about three weeks to paint this--partly because of my dayjob and other commitments, and partly because I like to work on several pictures at the same time.

I used an old watercolour trick to create the starry effect. When the paint is not too wet nor too dry you scatter some salt on it. In a moment of insanity, I tried to use sea-salt. Yikes! The grains were too big. I could see right away that the starry effect wasn't going to happen, and to make matters worse, the grains were going to stick to the picture like little boulders. I ran to the kitchen, flipped the painting over, banged the bad salt into the garbage, grabbed the shaker from the cupboard and dashed it all over my picture.

It was pepper. Hahahaha! Lord love a duck. So I had to tip that into the garbage, as well. Meanwhile, the paint kept getting drier and drier. I threw some table-salt on it and waited nervously to see what would happen. Against all odds, it came out quite well. Good enough to eat, even. Ha.

And for dessert, here's the latest picture of my wall. I know you're just dying to see it. More soon!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Slowly but Surely

Here's another before-and-after: last week (above) and this week (below).

Meanwhile, the street scene from my last blog-post is still in a state of flux. When I finally get permission to ink-and-paint that one, there will be dancing in the streets! Until then...back to the drawing board. Literally. More soon...!