Not so Woeful Watercolors…

My watercolor paintings that wouldn’t produce salt blooms actually are turning out better than I anticipated and I have to admit that I am rather thrilled by that. Watercolor has always fascinated me. It has also made me want to pull my hair out and scream epithets at the art gods…but I digress…!

I have always been enthralled with the moody, ethereal transparency of watercolor. I also realize that I should end the agony and just sign up for a watercolor course. There are two reasons why I haven’t: 1). I have taken various art classes since I was three years old. 2). There is this unreasonable fear that if class is taken watercolor will lose its mystery.

Ridiculous, I know, but it is the one class I have never taken and it has become a bit of a self imposed life lesson. Here is why…. I spent my childhood mastering graphite, charcoal and ink. Very black and white and occasionally I got to dabble in sepia tones. It was also very detail oriented. I craved color, like most kids would. I spent my studio time working my projects and secretly stealing glances at the adult students that were painting…oil, watercolor, gouache and acrylic. I couldn’t wait to be an adult and paint and that is exactly what I did. I took painting classes. I loved it.

I loved the color, of course, but I also loved the freedom from the rigidity of line and detail. I hadn’t realized that until I took an oil painting class and we were learning abstract forms. Non-Objective was something I maddeningly struggled with and found fascinatingly freeing simultaneously.

Watercolor has become my new Non-Objective. I suck at it but love it. I love the moody, ethereal transparency of watercolor. It is a very emotive medium and for a Bipolar, INTJ that is better than therapy, head meds and the internet.

Now, on to my projects. They still aren’t done but I have made progress and as previously stated better than I expected.

I also started a Sharpie Marker Pointillism Project which is almost finished…if you want to see how it started check out my Instagram; dunningpamela6das

Monday Montage…Colors of India

Life can be funny sometimes; it has been well over a year since Sus and I left India but she had to make a trip back this week. I opted to stay put, not sure my recently recovered introverted sensibilities are quite ready for the sensory assault, especially since India is on the eve of Diwali.

Diwali is a celebration of light and the culmination of a series of holidays, each represented by a Hindu deity and spanning weeks if not months. Diwali is the big bang of the holiday season and always reminded me of an amalgamation of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and just a pinch of Halloween all rolled into one giant event. It is magical, like all festivities that celebrate light, and caused me to develop a giddy love for Diya’s. A Diya is simply a tea-light sized votive (lamp) and they can be ornate or simple and I am infatuated with them. I like them old school and simple. Hand-shaped clay ready for some sort of oil and a cotton wick.

In honor of Diwali, the four years I lived in India and Sus’ recent trip I am sharing photos of India…

All photos taken by Pamela Dunning with a Nikon 5200 during a sojourn in India.

Watercolor Woes…an Update

The other day I posted about my watercolor woes. I was trying to make salt bloom backgrounds during a very rainy week and was failing miserably. I did manage to do two backgrounds sans salt blooms but being a thrifty type I refused to throw perfectly good paper out. Today, I faced my fears and took a look at those backgrounds and although they lacked those much coveted (by me) salt blooms they actually weren’t that bad. I could see possibilities…

I set up my work space, found a favorite music mix on YouTube and set to painting. I am going slow…timid watercolor painter that am but I am enjoying the journey.

I have a tendency to be my worst enemy. I am a perfectionist and I sometimes get into my head and get stuck there. I am trying to change that. This year I decided instead of aborting any creative ventures when they didn’t go exactly as planned, I would stick it out and find a way to make it work.

Monday Montage…Fall Foliage and Morning at the Pier

All Photos taken by Pamela Dunning with a Nikon 5200 @ White Rock, British Colombia, Canada

Friday Framed…The Secret Garden

A bit like Monday Montage but on a Friday. Things have calmed down on this end and I need to get back into Blogging. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Watercolor Woes…

S. and I, successfully moved, 4 crazy cats and 1 very neurotic Chow-Chow to British Colombia, Canada. Yes, as I previously stated in an earlier post I will once again be nomadic but in a good way (I am hoping). One week in and I got the flu, but luckily bounced back quickly, only to realize that I was feeling great but my big Lovebug buddy, Dante, wasn’t.

Long story short after visiting the emergency vet and spending an entire week with his new vet he is feeling somewhat better and is home. Poor Dante had crystals in his urine and he couldn’t pee. He has to change his diet and take medication and to make things worse he now has a cold. Not a happy camper.

The other fur kids are doing great and enjoying their new home and seem to be back in their previous routine so I decided I would dabble a bit with watercolor. It was better as an idea, execution left much to be desired. British Colombia is breathtakingly beautiful but it is also quite wet; I am sure you can see where this is going. I lack the skill set to handle watercolors in anything other than a bone dry climate but I refuse to throw in the towel and I had that creative itch that needed to be scratched. So, you guessed it…onward soldiers.

Armed with my paint palette, 2 sheets of watercolor paper, water pots, brushes and a tiny tube of Payne’s Gray…and some salt. I set to work and it was going pretty well until I sprinkled my salt on the painted paper and realized that it was probably to humid to bloom the way I like it; if at all. No problem, I thought to myself after all…this was covered during a rainy week during a watercolor class I took.

The solution in our class had been a blow dryer, simple (in theory) because I own one and I promptly ran and got it. I plugged it in, turned it to the lowest setting and slowly, holding it above my head moved it over my painting board. Salt went flying, actually paint did as well. In this class we never actually used the dryer, it was a rented space, the instructor didn’t bring one with her but adamantly insisted that a blow dryer would do the trick. She does it all the time. I have even seen it done on You Tube tutorials although not with salt.

In the class we had made a bunch of salt bloom backgrounds on day one so we simply made some more (to dry at their leisure) and painted on the backgrounds we had previously done. I am not one to be easily defeated so I tried a few more angles with the dryer and came to the conclusion that using the blow dryer isn’t a brilliant idea. BTW…if anyone has successfully done this please feel free to let me know where I went wrong.

In the meantime, I have salt blooming watercolor backgrounds drying at their leisure with the help of a space heater. Fingers crossed!