My “Business” Sketchbook: Ballroom Rug

W14 10 5 WA Capitol Ballroom Carpet 15DSC00188_2Posting a page I am not 100% happy with.
I may even try again . . .  We’ll get to that!

The carpet in the State Reception Room floored me.
It is so oddly modern when in fact it is a century old.

Meandering big bold flowers in electric wool
colors appear from the tropics!
Not even the touch of mauve against eggplant
bothered me because somehow it all works.

Until recently, this was the largest rug in the world.
Now a Saudi public building has that distinction.

I wanted to give you context on this amazing carpet in the room!

W14 10 5 WA Capitol Ballroom Carpet 5The State Reception Room is closed except to tours (free);  Mitchell snapped images from which to draw.

Initially I intended this to be a sepia page which would hold writing, right.  Watercolors leapt to the page of their own accord.  This is where I got into trouble.

It is SO easy to overwork a watercolor.
I wanted the colors to be as bold as they were in the State Reception Room. The watercolors were not vibrant enough, coming through as pastel version, so I added second and third layers.

*Sigh* Muckity muck muck MUCK.

W14 10 5 WA Capitol Ballroom Carpet 8 copy

Unfortunately, this is also a case where the colors are pretty accurate but the whole does not appear the correct palette.   My palette is simply too bright, too orange, too pink!

Since I was unhappy, I felt I had nothing to lose.   I used the middle of the page to
sketch a faster impression of the carpet in watercolors.  Quickly.  This impression is closer to the feeling of the carpet when you are in the State Reception Room.

Then to save the overworked watercolor, I first tried spritzing a paper towel and blotting the overworked watercolor.  I lifted a lot of paint, which helped, but it still looked all wrong.  Then I tried spritzing the water-colored borders and blotting directly.  This resulted in the mottled effect below.  NOT what I was going for, but an improvement!

I really love this carpet — odd for me — and may have another go at it!
Maybe I can sit on the floor outside the glass doors!

W14 10 5 WA Capitol Ballroom Carpet 12 copyDrawn in an Stillman & Birn Delta journal  with my bright shiny new yellow
Lamy Safari pen, a Noodlers’ giveaway pen, Polar Brown Noodlers ink.
Daniel Smith (Opera Pink, new Gamboge, Chrome Green — big mistake as it is opaque — Perelyne Maroon), Sennelier Quinacridone Red, and QoR Terra Verte watercolors.


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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art, art journal, color, furniture, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, watercolor and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My “Business” Sketchbook: Ballroom Rug

  1. Reblogged this on Mpfconservation's Blog and commented:

    The lovely State Reception Room carpet is featured in Kate’s watercolors. Grand images of the State Reception Room are also shown. We are in love with this building!


  2. Sammy D. says:

    That is WILD !! Are you saying the carpet itself is a century old? I can’t imagine someone selecting such bold colors thinking about the colorful ball gowns that would stand on top of it, but somehow it works. It’s almost a clash between the ‘busy’ marble walls and the heavily-patterened carpet, but I think it must give such vibrancy to the events in the room.

    You might be disappointed bcause you had expectationd but i think Your watercolors are wild in a similar fashion. So unexpected and such vibrant blooms.
    Thanks for the tour!


    • Thank you gal. Oddly, in a space this big the colors are nto garish and don’t clash. the marble is stupendous, and if I can I will try rendering it as an exercise. They also matchbooked some marble and made it look like trees in the senate chambers. Unfortunately, I can turn the lights up bright enough to take a photo. They keep them quite dim in tours.


  3. Yes, I like the impression better, too. Sometimes that’s all we really need to convey the truth of the thing. If we try to create some type of exacting reproduction, we lose the verisimilitude. Ironic, isn’t it?


  4. susanissima says:

    Loving your analysis as you work your way through the challenges. Overworking, mudding…these are big ones. How much is enough?!


    • I am still such a beginner with watercolors. I so appreciate when others share their messes and talk about it. Also, for beginners, I have a LOT of paint experience but just am learning to sue watercolors — so am picking up things fast.


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