A Dress on my Desk

Watercolor Dress on Desk

Lately, I have been going with the whole “dive in” notion, and have been veering away from the meticulous methods of watercolor that I did in high school. I used to carefully sketch out my composition in pencil (sometimes using a ruler) and then paint from discreet section to section to fill in the paper. I aimed to mix just the right colors, and did not stray much from the true hues. But I have more experience now, and have learned professors’ own methods and advice for creating an image with more spontaneity, and perhaps more interest. For this painting, I went right in with my watercolors and didn’t use a ruler. I outlined the contours and filled in the components of the still-life with the undertone colors that I observed. I paid attention to dark vs. light areas. I worked in a light, sheer layer, filling the whole paper with color. I like making this preliminary layer to inform my painting about undertone colors and the general positions of the shapes and lines. Diving in like this makes the starting process easier for me; I do not have to make such a perfect representation right away. I trust in myself to make the outcome of the painting well-developed and something that I am proud of.

Somewhere along my watercolor journey, I got lost in the intricate patterns of the desk and dress. I had fun carefully rendering the shapes, shadows, and colors. I like the contrast between the carved, static lines of the desk versus the more fluid, organic flowers in the heaped fabric. For the last stretch in completing this painting, I loosened up, and applied color in a whirlwind, quickly brushing on watercolor and mixing the colors on the page in some places. I completed the oil lamp and the shadows that the objects of the still-life cast onto the pink wall. I find that I like the complement of the detailed, defined desk and dress with the more loose style of the oil-lamp and wall. For my next watercolor, I want to keep to a looser style throughout the entire painting and see how it goes.

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