This painting started out as a study of light coming from the top since I have mostly painted portraits with side or front light. It became a bit sinister when I added the tree, which I kind of like. Initially I was just going to have a very dark black background and half way through I added the tree. I do like the contrast I created between the cold background and the happy warmth under the light (Hawaiian shirt and all).
I painted this while stories of migrant children being separated from parents at the border populated the news. I am aware news can be manipulated, things might not be as horrific as presented, but as a mother myself, I am crying and hurting for those parents and children (in fact for any parents and children who get separated). I painted my own child in a bleak world peeking into a colourful reflection. The dark world those children are in, next to the world they can only glance at on TV. Lately I keep realizing how much privilege I have compared to most of the world.
Last year I painted my son’s teacher and this year I decided to do it again.
I really dragged my feet making this painting. I found that I don’t enjoy painting myself that much. It’s a very weird feeling to see myself staring back at me.
With this painting I have finished the small series of family portraits that I had in mind. The whole idea behind it was to hide part of the face (to maybe make the viewer more curious) and make use of the hands as well. There’s nothing deeper than that that’s going on.
This is the biggest painting I have done in a very long time, it’s 20″ x 16″. I was quite nervous painting this because of the three people I had to get right, but I’m quite happy with how it came out. I am not entirely satisfied; there are things I would change if this were done in oils or acrylics, but I can’t do that with watercolors. I still have lots to learn…
I made a painting inspired by Magritte’s Son of Man. I painted on canvas one more time even though I am not enjoying the process much. I have one more canvas painting left to do to finish my little family portraits project and then I’ll never do watercolor on canvas again.
For this painting, because I wanted to do a really good job, I bought some Grumbacher paints – 12 x 7.5ml tubes for $60 (Canadian). I should have just restocked my Winsor and Newton because the new paints proved to be very grainy, hard to mix and when trying to layer the paints, they just washed away. It was annoying to work with. I still have a lot to learn. This painting is going to travel to Spain and that’s exciting.
This painting gave me trouble. The light is coming slightly from the back and to the side, so the face is supposed to be mostly in shadow, but I chickened out and didn’t do the shadow part as dark as it should have been. There are quite a few layers of paint on the face as I tried to darken it step by step, but I finally had to stop myself before I made it too much of a mess. With watercolor, if I don’t get it right in the first step, I find it hard to fix without making it look muddy.
I think I made her smirk bigger than it is in real life, but what I really wanted to try painting was her jacket and the fake fur lining. I also loved her red hair, but I didn’t want to go into too much detail with it. She has very fine baby hair, so I wanted to barely render it.