From Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale

People disappear when they die. Their voices, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living mempry of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continut to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.

--Diane Setterfield

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Watercolor... a step-by-step

Well, golly, when it works, uploading pictures is a breeze.
I found a print of a goblet that I really like. I think I drew it (or copied it) in college. I have never colored the original because I get overwhelmed by the options and freeze. What if a gold goblet would look better... what about silver... or a cut jewel or blown glass goblet! AH! Too many options; better to just have the outline and imagine what 'could' be done with it. Until now. I found the picture and some graphite paper in the same folder. I copied it to a watercolor paper and went to town.
First was the background. I choose yellow... who knows why.
That's boring, lets add some dimension. In reddish purple. and sweep it up the side of the canvas. heheh.

Whoa, too much color. Let's take that back a notch. That's better. (It's much more fun if you read these and imagine Bob Ross saying everything.)
I'd like some depth, so let's make this corner darker. Oops can you see, it's only darker when the paint is wet. It dries lighter. Oops.
I tried several arrangements to get the subtle shading.
This is more what I was going for.
Now, lets move on to the actual goblet. Again I couldn't decide how it should be colored... So I opted for a little of everything. My goal is a gold goblet with pewter(? why pewter*?) around the edges and jewels randomly stuck places.
See? Gold cup, Pewter around the rim and an emerald on the handle.
Garnets inset around the rim and a brilliant blue sapphire at the base of the stem. Wowza**. That's a fansasticical goblet! And it looks really flat and boring.
Lets add some shading to the rubies/garnets and the gold. Better? or worse?
Lemme smudge out the gold shading (which was actually a fun sparkly copper color watercolor) and add some shading to the other jewels.
Now let's shade the pewter.
More and more shading to all aspects.
"One and one and one is three... got to be good looking cause he's so hard to see. Come together, right now, over me" - Aerosmith
Much better. But the lighting is off and it looks a tiny bit silly.
Here we have corrected shading and lighting, I hope. I was never great at guessing where the shadows and light will hit these kinds of things. Maybe I'd have learned that if I took a class. Maybe someday I will.
So there you have it. A finished product. It was fun and took my mind off packing, which I should have been doing. Now I have packed away my paints and will get them out when I am finally in a new house in a new state across the nation from where I am now. ( I can't wait! It will be awesome!) Hope you enjoyed!

* Pewter. Where the heck did that come from? All I can tell you is that's the metal I was imagining when I was painting.
** According to Bones, that's a sexual reference.
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