Last Wednesday, I asked my 18-year-old son how his day went.
“Mom, it was like this. When I got up today it was like a cold lump of mashed potatoes plopped right on the floor.” Huh? Since we have a dog and a cat, my mind immediately went to dog/cat poo on the floor. Uh oh. “What do you mean, mashed potatoes?” I asked as I glanced nervously around on the floor. Turns out, he was describing how solidly unappetizing, unappealing and uneventful the day was. I totally understood. I had experienced a similar day.
I chose to paint four small, 8×8 inch single-chair paintings for a promotion on Facebook. I knew I needed to paint quickly, as I had a full work week and was heading out of town to check out the Portland Saturday Market scene during the weekend. I had a goal to get the paintings done, video and photo the steps, post this blog, send my promotion out to the folks on FB, eat right and cook decent foods for my family, buy my son a fishing license, go to school conferences, go to the Facebook seminar, exercise, and clean the toilets. HA! Needless to say, Superwoman I was not. Some things fell through the cracks. Okay, a LOT of things. Toilets were last on the list. So they are still on the list.
So with all that on my mind, I began to muddle through the long list by beginning on drawings of four 8×8 inch paintings of single chairs:
Four Single-Chair Drawings
I chose to paint on gessoed watercolor paper instead of plexiglass. This is a fun, quick way to paint in my same style, using scraps of watercolor paper. I thought it might intrigue my Facebook fans and give them a chance to purchase one or a group of four for my Thirty-Dollar-Thursday FB promotion. This might become Thirty-Dollar-Thursday-on-Friday (or Saturday…).
The gesso had already been applied, textured into with various tools when wet, and left to dry. I drew the chairs simply onto the textured paper and applied liquid mask to the arms. You can see that the mask is a little shiny in the photo below. I have taped the first painting onto watercolor board to stabilize the painting while I paint and keep it from wrinkling. Yuck, though. Look at the yellow-ish color tint of this photograph! Thought I corrected the color in Photoshop, but apparently I didn’t! Anyway:
Drawing of Turquoise Chair, taped onto watercolor board
Below, my first wash is using my favorite Cobalt Teal watercolor paint by Daniel Smith, mixing with Sap Green and Quinocridone Rose. All colors were super-loaded and wet. They bleed and blend together on the paper.
First wash with Cobalt Teal, Sap Green, and Quin. Rose
Here, I had hoped to enter a video. I’m such a newbie with video taping that it turned out pretty horrible. Then, while I taped, using my iPhone, the memory ran out. I finished the painting without finishing the video. ARGH! So you are stuck with just photos again for now. 🙂
Second wash, deepening values and intensifying color
After blow-drying the colors dry, I went into the painting with deeper colors, letting everything bleed together and run on the paper. Up at the top of the painting, I sprayed clear water to allow the paint to run more freely and get rid of the “deliberate” look. This was so much fun, just throwing color around on the paper. Love it!
Then, I removed the liquid mask after the paint dried. Here is a detail of the arm with the liquid mask removed. Check out the amazing texture from the gesso coming through!
Chair arm detail showing removed liquid mask
Now I needed to soften the arm edges using a damp brush. In the above photo, the bottom edge has not been softened yet. You can easily see the difference.
Softening the bottom edge of the chair arm using a damp brush
Above, the damp, flat brush blends the arm edge to soften it. Easy-peasy. Just don’t get the brush too wet.
Turquoise Chair finished. 8×8 watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper
I pulled out more detail in the chair, added a few shadows, further deepened the dark values, and spattered water in the foliage to add sparkling light. Finished in spite of all the obstacles this week. And at the end of the day, I, too, felt it had been a Mashed Potato Day. I felt lumpy, cold, and uninspired. So many things did not get done that I needed to do. But at least I finished this chair. I finished only one, though. And Thirty-Dollar Thursdays did not happen Thursday…or Friday…or Saturday. Maybe I’ll put it off till this Thursday. How about any of you? Did you have a Mashed Potato Day this week?