What I did on My Summer Vacation – Spanish Art Feast

The collection of Velazquez paintings was truly to die for, too. My favorite was Los Borrachos (The Drunks) – what a study in character!

Posing at the Prado, Madrid
Posing at the Prado, Madrid

Ooh – just was looking through my pictures from last June looking for something else and came across this.  It’s me next to a bronze statue of a painter by I forget what artist outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

I turned forty last February and sometime around my birthday I got a phone call.  It was my dad.  “How’d you like to go to Spain?” he asked.

Would I ever.  So last June we packed our bags and headed to Madrid.  I lost no time dragging him to the Prado, where by pure good fortune they had an incredible exhibit of paintings by Joachin Sorollo –  a contemporary of Sargent and an amazing painter!  The collection of Velazquez paintings was truly to die for, too.  My favorite was Los Borrachos (The Drunks) – what a study in character!

Los Borrachos, Diego Velazquez, 1629
Los Borrachos, Diego Velazquez, 1629

We also spent a day in Toledo and saw Gaudi’s fabulous Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

I didn’t have much time to paint, but it didn’t matter – it was a feast for the eyes!

(The food was great, too!)

More work on the cherry bowl

There’s nothing like watercolor to come up with effects you’d never dream of yourself!

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Putting in the background
Putting in the background

The cherries are starting to look less appetizing in real life, but I’ve pretty much got them down.

Now for the background – the fun part!  I started out putting in the line of the table but didn’t like it, so opted for a real dark ground, very wet juicy.  I used Payne’s gray, Prussian blue, a little pthalo blue, and lemon and Indian yellows, dropped wet into wet.

There’s nothing like watercolor to come up with effects you’d never dream of yourself!

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Trying out that Fredrix watercolor canvas

There was this square Frederix watercolor canvas kicking around the studio and thought I’d finally give the thing a try.

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Clara & Pavlov portrait in progress
Clara & Pavlov portrait in progress

Just started this double portrait of my daughter Clara and one of our dogs, Pavlov.   ( I always seem to start stuff in batches.  Maybe because it’s easier than finishing!)

There was this square Frederix watercolor canvas kicking around the studio and thought I’d finally give the thing a try.

The stuff doesn’t absorb like watercolor paper, and it’s hard to get   a decent depth of value.  You have to paint in lots of layers.  I’m finding it to be a little frustrating, since I’ve been shifting lately from a many-layers approach to a much more direct technique which seems to give me fresher, better results.

So we’ll see how it turns out.  I may have to break down and finish in acrylic or oil!

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Still Life in Progress – Starting to Paint

Now the fun part – starting to paint! I figure I’d better get those cherries down first before they start getting fuzzy.

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Watercolor still life work in progress
Watercolor still life work in progress

Now the fun part – starting to paint! I figure I’d better get those cherries down first before they start getting fuzzy.

I’m using mostly Winsor & Newton paints on Kilimanjaro paper.  I often lay down a light wash before starting but didn’t this time. I’m using a little masking fluid on the highlights – let’s see if it turns out better or worse than without.

My husband walked in and said, “Whoa, looks like those cherries are just floating in midair!”

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Cherry still life studies

Cherries are fun to paint because of the luscious color and the contrast between the plump fruit and the delicate stems.

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Cherries I, watercolor study, 8x5", 2009
Cherries I, watercolor study, 8x5", 2009

Last week on vacation I got started on cherries!  They’re fun to paint because of the luscious color and the contrast between the plump fruit and the delicate stems.

I like to attack the darks with loads of pigment, just get down as much as I can and leave it.  I did do a little layering with more concentrated paint on top (cadmium red for the red highlights, alizarin, prussian blue & Payne’s gray for the dark darks.)  No masking fluid on these – the light highlights were saved or lifted while the paint was wet.

Cherries II, watercolor study, 8x5", 2009
Cherries II, watercolor study, 8x5", 2009

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