blue dresses

My brief foray into my long-expired cheap tubes of watercolour was both fun and frustrating. I was getting excited to dip brushes into yogurt tubs and enjoyed the shaky lines, but at the same time the colours were muddy, the paints were lumpy, the brushstrokes showed, and the paper was not exactly right.

Sometimes I just need a little push like that. Finally getting the incentive to go to the art supply store and spend a little on nice paper, some practical studio materials, and a few tubes of quality paint to properly carry on the path I had begun; and with that investment made, my thrifty soul is now committed to figuring out how I will use watercolours to create fashion drawings.

As you can see I am no Stina Persson and never will be! I am still just figuring out how to control my strokes, how to understand the way that brushes and papers wick the water around. I still have not assembled a palette, so before I get overwhelmed with mixing materials, I did a little study of the different effects I could develop with just one colour.

blue dresses

Making masks and spraying or stippling… wetting the paper and dropping the pigment on top… using masking fluid, salt, sticks and sponges and variations on those techniques to make rows of little blue dresses. On different papers; hot press, cold, rough. Then freehand, with a pen and ink, I added awkward little arms and legs and faces, and then I dropped in some burnt sienna for hair and shoes. Some ended up cute, some ended up goofy, and some just did not work. See the whole set of three pages here.

I have been checking around the internet and looking at books, but I haven’t bought any yet. At this point I think it is enough to just work my way through some experimentation, both intuitive and systematic. I have realized that my previous painting work leans too heavily on drawing techniques rather than taking full advantage of using paint. Now, I am beginning to feel that if I approach it with the same dedication to research and practice that I did for fashion drawing, I will be able to incorporate it into my repetoire.

One site that I have found helpful is Handprint. Bruce MacEvoy’s site includes his own journals about his learning process, exhaustive research and testing of many paints and papers, and a fascinating analysis of watercolour artists’ palettes and books. I certainly can not afford to test as many materials as MacEvoy, nor do I have the same analytical temperament, so I am grateful for the his generosity and am taking notes.

Now I just have to do it, draw it, paint it, post it! At first my work is awkward. I have to get comfortable with new materials and new ways of seeing. But with persistence I will be able to bring life and ideas out of a bit of pigment, paper and water.  I am excited to keep trying!

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