Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Small Paintings

Here's a small (3.5 x 5.5 inch) study of Sintra Palace, from the photo I posted a couple days ago.  I'll work this up into a larger painting in the near future.  Working this small presents its own set of difficulties, especially in watercolor, but I still find it helpful for solving problems of composition and balance.  It's also helpful for sorting out how to convey all those odd angles and varying degrees of shadow, direct, and indirect sunlight. 

If I can do it in such a small painting, and do it in such a way that it makes sense from a fair distance away, then I figure I have most of the problems licked, and I can start working large.

Of course, a large painting has challenges of its own; it's much more difficult to get a uniform color distribution across a wide area than a small one, and sometimes that's very important, since accidental variations in tone can convey unintended meanings.  Sometimes that's a good thing, but then again, sometimes it's a real aggravation.

There are quite a few watercolorists who would take me to task for trying to exert so much control, probably.  A lot of people think watercolor should be loose and splashy.  Those who know me will no doubt not be surprised to learn that has never appealed to me.
Here's another study I'm working on.  You'll recognize this from a previous photo too.  This will be especially challenging to do on a larger scale because I'll want to reflect that beautiful uniformity of surface that you see in the photograph.  It doesn't work here on this small painting because of the texture of the paper.  I'm using a 300lb cold-pressed Arches paper here, which is very rough.  Often, that gives you a nice effect, but for the larger painting, I might go with a hot-pressed paper, which will be very smooth.  That will probably require another study, as I haven't worked with that paper in a while, and it behaves differently. 

Besides, I think another study might be in order, since I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the way this color compares to that in the photograph.  A perfect match isn't always that important, but in this case, I think the colors are really important to the photo, and I'd like to get as close to them as possible in the painting.

2 comments:

Ran said...

I like the second as it is! It's perfect.

I like them both.

Steven Givler said...

Thanks Ran!