Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Watercolor Before and Digital After...

One morning back in June, after I walked the dog and fixed my coffee, I sat down at my computer to read my email.  There was an email from a friend of mine, Debbie, inviting me (along with a bunch of other people) to join her in “an experimental, FUN, no pressure” watercolor class.  I thought about it for a while and looked at my calendar.  It was scheduled for four Wednesday evenings in July at 7 pm and I was free.  I emailed Deb back and said I had absolutely NO experience in watercolors and had probably not picked up a brush since I was a kid in grade school.  What did she think?  She said she was in the same boat.  So, sucker that I am, I signed up.

Well, I learned a few of things about watercolor through those classes.  I learned that watercolor is both very fun and very frustrating.  I also learned that I’m not a natural with a brush.  I think it would take a lot of work and a ton of lessons for me to get anywhere near proficient.  Of course, that’s the way life is, isn’t it?  Anything worth pursuing takes work.  Regardless of that, I did have fun and I did learn a few things and spent four pleasant evenings with a bunch of congenial women.

After I brought my work home and looked at it for a little while, it occurred to me that I might be able to improve the little devils if I messed with them a bit digitally.  So out came my trusty Nikon and I snapped them up.  Here are some of the befores and afters.

Here's a before.


And here's the after.  I just decided a forest would look better than three lone trees so I copied the original ,  flipped it over and layered it on top.


Here's the before.  I think I was trying to make kind of another forest scene here too.


But after I messed with it for a while, I decided it was really an abstract and it looked more like a bunch of women standing out in the rain.  So I call it "Rainy Day Women."


Our teacher Renee Malowitz, told us about using resists in watercolor like crayon, rubber cement and frisket.  I was a bit overwhelmed with this idea and the best I could come up with was this.


I looked at it for a while and decided it looked to me like a bunch of weird snakes shedding their skins.  So I found the quote:  "Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again."  And this is where it took me.


Renee also showed us how to do a black line drawing and fill it in with watercolor.  Here's my attempt at copying the flowers she brought in for us.


I thought the before looked a bit flat, so I added a little texture and framed it like the masterpiece that it isn't.


On our last day, we were supposed to do whatever popped into our heads using the techniques we were taught.  For some reason, I had feathers on my mind that day so I took a couple with me to copy.  Here's one of a crow feather I found in the yard.  I know it's not crow-colored, but I couldn't figure out how to do a black feather.


And here's what I decided to do with it.


And lastly, here's my pathetic attempt at a peacock feather.  It's like I completely forgot about the rule of thirds and everything.


But I kind of liked it after I was done messing with its pixels.


I suppose this is cheating.  But I don't care.  I had fun.  I might just do more of these.  Who knows?
  I might  just learn something.


16 comments:

Rose said...

I do not consider what you done cheating...it is all your work and you can do with it as you please. You have given me courage...maybe. I have been watching water clor videos off and on, and a bit back I tried one....I have thought about posting it but afraid I would hear laughter. But who cares...I had fun though it was a bit frustrating.

"...E...", from VA, Beth said...

i have not worked with water colors in years. we did a lot of it in art class. i love the flowers ... you have fun!! ( :

i do a lot of different art now ... photography and such.

Barb said...

Barbara, It's fun seeing your watercolors and the digital "copies" that you enhanced. I love the digital crow feather and the quote. I took a watercolor course my final year in college because I had more than enough credits for my major. I really knew nothing about watercolor and was in the class with lots of people who were true artists. Even so, I have fond memories of messing with the colors and creating my "masterpieces."

Pamela Gordon said...

I think these are all beautiful in the before and after. Great job Barb! I really like the bouquet of flowers and the feather. I think you should pursue this as a hobby.

TexWisGirl said...

i like the forest and love that feather! nice ones! you got to learn techniques i've never tried before. :)

Debbie said...

Having fun, that's what it's all about. I liked the feather, that broke the rules, are there rules?!

Debbie Ennis said...

Barb, you are a true artist. Knowing how to digitally enhance your already very nice watercolor creations is an art in itself. If I knew how to do this I would fix mine up too. Although I am quite pleased with my sheep painting.

I'm so glad you came. I had fun hanging out with you outside of church.

Debbie

Buttons Thoughts said...

Brilliant:). Hug B

Sandra said...

you know how much i love digital art.. these are wonderful and you had double the fun, painting them and visiting and then playing with them again. i love all of these. if i had to pick the 2 i like best, it is the peacock feather and the feather, but close to them is shedding skins... i think your paintings came out great.

Felicia said...

these are pretty cool.

Robert Nicolaescu said...

I like all.
All the best!

Pradeepa said...

I would love to try water colours but I feel more comfortable with colour pencils. Love your work and the feather is fabulous.

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Nicki said...

I think your watercolors are wonderful and probably my favorite digital edit was the feather with the quote - but honestly, your initial watercolors were nothing to scoff at. The beauty of watercolor is in its imperfections.

Gail Dixon said...

The feather drawing is really nice! Love the quote you put with it. Keep drawing!! You're doing great!

Helma said...

I think you've made these watercolors really quite beautiful.
I find both the front and the watercolor afterwards really very nice. Beautiful bright colors and clear what you paint :-)