Monday, January 27, 2014

Ruddy Duck Revisited...

watercolor & gouache, 9" x 9"
Chris Beck

Back in October, I was asked to present the program for one of the local art clubs and decided to take a slightly different approach than I usually do.  Instead of working on a series showing the progression from start to finish on one image, I took several unfinished demo pieces that had accumulated in my studio and played around with them a bit.  I had hoped to share things sooner, but I left early the next morning to visit my mother and help downsize her living situation yet again. By the time I got home a week later, other tasks required my attention and this unfortunately slipped out of mind.

You may remember our old friend Ruddy Duck. Ruddy has starred in a number of demos over the past few years.  This was how he looked at the start of the demo:

I added the word "quack" up the side of the painting, using gouache with some oversize alphabet stamps that I found by chance at Rileystreet Art Supply in Santa Rosa, CA when I went to a product expo event there.

Because it looked pretty stark after I stamped the letters onto the painting, I decided to soften the image with spattered gouache.  I cut a mask for the duck out of low-tack Contact paper (you could also use frisket paper) and pressed it lightly against the image with my fingers.  Then I mixed up various colors of gouache on a spare palette tray and used a flat-bristle toothbrush to spritz it over the background and letters.

I used ultramarine blue, spectrum yellow, flame red, and burnt sienna, along with white to brighten up some of the colors. As you can see, I've customized the toothbrush I use to spatter paint. I used a heat gun to soften the handle just enough to bend it so it has a better angle for mixing paint on the palette.

I have a few other examples that I'll be sharing as soon as possible.  Right now I'm working on a large painting for an invitational watercolor biennial in Belgium this summer, so that takes precedence.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Featured artist in the NWWS Newsletter...

Hip Hop Bebop
watercolor, 12" x 12"
Chris Beck

It's always a delight to hear that someone loves your work, so I was very pleased to get a note from Charlene Collins Freeman this past summer, inviting me to be a featured artist in the Northwest Watercolor Society Newsletter.  Charlene created an excellent online interview, covering everything from my early art experience to my creative process and my thoughts on success, and she has included many of my favorite paintings in her presentation. The feature has just been published in the latest Northwest Watercolor Society Newsletter (Jan/Feb 2014). My thanks to Charlene for the invitation and resulting feature article and also to the newsletter editor, Jeff Waters, for sharing my work.

If you're not familiar with it, NWWS is a fantastic organization with enormous energy and I'm very honored to be recognized in this way. Check out the NWWS website.