Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fish out of Water challenge...


Fish out of Water by Chris Beck
watercolor, 6" x 6"


Chuey by Pablo Villicana Lara
watercolor, 16" x 12"

Well, we certainly came at this challenge from different directions!! I took the literal approach and Pablo took the virtual -- and I think the much more difficult road. While I was thrilled just to find an excuse to put this vintage planter on the wonderful fish fabric from my stash, Pablo was putting *himself* in the role of "fish out of water" by painting an animal -- and on top of that, as a commission!! (He never does either of these things!!) He says, "I was totally nervous 'cause this is so out of my comfort zone. The great thing about challenges is that they challenge us to grow as an artist whether it be techniques, thought processes, or just taking on something that we wouldn't normally think of painting."

For me, painting the single-color fish planter was a technical challenge. I finally settled on a base of raw sienna and rose madder genuine because it lifted off the paper very easily for the highlights on the ceramic and could be mixed with purple for shadows. The fish fabric allowed me to play with masking fluid, one of my favorite things in my bag of watercolor tricks! On the advice of my friend Connie Williams, I used Winsor-Newton masking fluid instead of my usual brands and I loved the ease of applying it -- it's very fluid and makes it easy to mask very fine details. I painted the entire background teal, waited for it to dry and then masked all the fishie shapes. When I had finally finished painting the ceramic fish, I applied the dark fabric color to the background. I let everything dry thoroughly, then removed the masking fluid and toned the background to give it depth.

16 comments:

  1. Skillful job with the masking fluid, Chris.

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  2. I love both of these paintings - so different! Good for Pablo, challenging himself even more than the painting challenge. His dog portrait is so fuzzy and soft looking. Love your fishes and that cloth is wonderfully painted.

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  3. I like both of them! Fish out of Water Challenge? That's an interesting concept, I like it. Your fish against the fish background makes me smile. Beautifully executed.

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  4. I love this fish and the fabulous fish fabric!

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  5. Love the painting, Chris, and it was fascinating to read how you did it.

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  6. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment!! Glad you liked our challenge. Pablo's handling of textures is always excellent and he definitely captured the fluffy softness of that little dog!!

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  7. Chris . . .just linked to you on my blog. I dunno what the heck took me so long, but you are there now. Thought you'd like to know . . . . .you are one of the BEST!

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  8. Hey, Mike!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Thanks too for adding me to your sidebar. I'm zipping back to my main page to add you to mine!!

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  9. Another one of those giant paintings - Very good, as always! (I like WN colorless miskit - you can see each layer - but Pebeo drawing gum is still my favorite)

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  10. I like Pebeo too, Deb, but both Incredible White Mask and the Winsor-Newton untinted stuff come off better when you leave them on forever!! I'm notorious for leaving masking on for months and have been delighted that I've had no trouble with the stuff sinking into the paper since I switched from Pebeo.

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  11. Hi Chris, I love the visual pun and the multiple fishes. I think your choices for color are great; wonderful!

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  12. Thanks, Peggy! Playing with the puns is a big part of the fun for me - glad you enjoyed it.

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  13. My favorite parts of your fish out of water: the lovely & subtle value gradations and the turquoise reflections! Nicely done, Chris!

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  14. Chris!

    Fun painting as always! I LOVE that fish fabric!!

    And Chuey is a cutie! Great job, Pablo!!

    Two fantastic paintings by two talented artists!

    -Dean

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  15. Thanks, Dean! Glad you like our paintings!

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