A breakthrough occurs!  Last weekend I had inspiration and energy to feed the beast!  And need I say time?  I actually TOOK TIME to paint. I dug out all the photos I had of Seattle’s Pike’s Place Market and selected a photo of beets that I have always loved.  The color contrast, textures, and composition called to me. Taking an old painting I had done on plexiglass, and covering it somewhat with gesso, here is my start:

Gessoed plexiglass prepared for beets painting

Gessoed plexiglass as prepared for beets painting.  Photo reference in lower LH corner.

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the composition is drawn out in pencil on the canvas.  You can see paper collaged in squares on the canvas.  I ignored this, assuming that the squares would just add texture and interest in the surface of the painting.

Laying in colors and values during the initial wash

Laying in colors and values during the initial wash

This was so much fun.  I used a loaded 2-inch soft wash brush to lay in the initial colors and values on the canvas.  Because watercolor moves freely on a gessoed surface, colors bleed and blend in unique ways.  I had ideas to keep my whites totally clear of color and my darks, in the background, deep and colorful.  When painting on gesso, watercolor lifts easily.  It is best to move quickly and stay out of the wet paint.  It is possible to layer for depth, but with a light hand and soft brush.  The beauty of this is that you can lift back to white, or almost white, if you need to.

Almost finished. Beats and Green Beans. Watercolor on Plexiglass 21x30

Almost finished. Gonna think about it for a couple of days…

I had to sit on this painting for a day or so to decide what else needed to be done.  I had so much fun and love it!  The sign seemed a bit blah, so I changed the lettering to red.  I also ended up adding another beet in the lower LH corner, as well as added a shadow beneath the beets on the white table.  In the end, the background colors seemed to draw my eye too much, so I killed it a little with a dark, muddy wash.  Not sure if that was the best plan.

Here is the finished painting:

Finished Painting, "Beets 'N Green Beans", Watercolor on Gessoed Plexiglass. 21 x 31

Finished Painting, “Beets ‘N Green Beans”, Watercolor on Gessoed Plexiglass. 21 x 31

Why is it a breakthrough?  Because it was so much fun AND successful.  It says what I want to say:  Colors, fun, imagination, loose and free.  I love the collaged squares that come through on close inspection. Plus, it went so well, I immediately started to gesso a new plexiglass sheet for another painting!  The beast was fed on this day!!  What do you think?  Is the background better in the finished piece?  Do you like the suggestion of the beet in the lower LH corner?