The month of June is when many watercolorists around the world participate in the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge, created by Marc Homes and Uma Kelker.
Rules are simple: Each day post one watercolor, but no sketching, no inking, no pencil, just straight watercolor.
I am painting a lot from images late at night.
The home stretch.
What does that mean? I am looking at what I don’t do well. This is, for me, an exercise in learning and pushing myself to do that which I don’t normally do, from no lines to even some subject matter. And to see what I can work on to be a bit better at this whole process. Please, if you hear me criticize, don’t try to save me from myself. I am not someone who is down on my talent but am looking at what I need to work on. That said, there are a couple of total washouts… okay, maybe not total.
Day 22: Tried my hand at some posies… fast, not exact!
Day 24: From an image from our local Rose Festival taken from the bridge. I am happy with this one and this is the one where I felt I was getting the hang of it.
Seriously, all these and I am just now feeling like I am getting the hang of it.
Day 25: He was looking at us from his perch on the cat tree and I snapped a pic to work from… White fur is not just white paper, but has shadows which make it not quite white.
I am really happy with this one, which is direct right until the last white whisker lines (white pen). I just didn’t have a thin enough brush. Process buildup below.
Day 26: Switching gears, I decided to use the last days working on details, thing I wanted to do better. The cactus flower allowed me to work on layering watercolors, not very successfully I might add, but I am a work in progress.
Day 27: Could I hate a painting more? Maybe. I pushed to do this fast, not that it worked out that way. I hate the fir trees, they are heavy and glompy and overworked (you can expand the details to see exactly how bad the trees are!) Can’t do anything once it is overworked unless you can remove it and that was not an option on this paper. From there the rest was hard to finish, but I did. So what I liked better, if I crop it? I am okay with the depiction of lavender.
Day 28: Coming back to work the details of this lavender bush, I played with the way I might do that in future, and faster, sadly, no luck! Added the white dots which helped it pop! I still feel like the images are stiff and stilted.
Day 29: A highly detailed medallion from the Jantzen Beach Carousel. A great challenge for my last direct watercolor. May be years before I commit to it again, or maybe next year, but the learning curve is excellent.
Day 30: On the same page as the bush detail, I tried a single lavender flower, and I quite like that. Full page layout below. I am going ot keep up the DW doing details now… Hoping the exploration makes me better at details, having a few ways to approach details and especially people.
©D. Katie Powell.
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