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September 2013



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Wet-In-Wet Self Portrait

So, we've been discussing a variety of things on several of the art lists I inhabit...working from life or from photos, when doing self portraits particularly; my dear friend Karen Winters of http://karenwinters.com/kblog/ was having problems with her Masque Pen and I wanted to see what mine would do; I'm experimenting with Folio paper in my journal, thanks to Roz Stendahl of http://rozworks.com; I've got new Schmincke watercolors after having been tempted by Laura Frankstone at http://laurelines.typepad.com/ ; and I wanted to work wet in wet just for the heck of it.

Why not throw another level of difficulty into the mix??

Soooo..it was FUN. Sort of like going downhill skiing, not that I'd know what THAT is like!

(There are notes on the process in my Flickr album--you can click on the image above, if you're interested.)

The Folio still sucks up the color, but holds the dampness for quite a while, allowing the wet in wet to work longer--I didn't really want to do too much once it was dry, except remove the mask and add a little drybrush to the hair. So quite the challenge, to keep edges soft, but defined enough...

I wasn't really drooling grape jelly, what can I say? That's a shadow that didn't get sufficiently matched on the cheek!

I was going pretty delicate with the Schminckes, though I'd intended to use stronger colors--when I was doing color samples they were STRONG, but painting I guess I backed off some. And somehow I envisioned this in warmer colors, too, but it didn't exactly happen (the pink cheeks are after a vodka and oj yesterday, which I had planned to emphasize--who needs blusher?!)

And this one's from a photo, not life...so a different look, I think. And I WILL say, wet in wet or no, that it looks a lot more like me than the one from the other day...no wiggling!

Now I'm tired! (But had to go back and tweak a little...I found I couldn't lift the shadow, much, on the Folio, but add a little darker shadow on the right, after spraying the face with clear water...

Not all that successfully...the value's closer but it went on spotty, so now the cheek looks rather dirty...http://www.flickr.com/photos/25146557@N00/

Learned a lot though...


Thanks, sweetie, painting wet-in-wet is SO MUCH FUN! Sorta like freefall...

Now I'm gonna go looking for jelly...life mimics art...*G*
And jam, and chutney...*G*

Love your icon!


this is incredible! When I see your work, my muse clamors for attention. You make it seem so effortless and I've got to remind myself that you have been doing this for years. You are an inspiration, in more ways than one. Thank you.

I love the blue-violet shades in the hair, and especially the muted darker blue at the front hair line. It makes the picture pop!

Re: Kate,

You are SUCH a sweetheart! Thank you...I'm delighted, now I want to see your self portrait!

I really like to paint with a limited palette...I liked how it worked here. So I don't ACTUALLY have lavender hair, so what!
Well, someday, sweet thing! That would be FUN. (I've got to get back to listing on eBay, I have a metric ton of artwork here...)


This is beautiful. I love the delicate colors. The looseness around the mouth is a nice touch.

Re: Awesome!

Thank you! It was fun to do...I should paint wet in wet more often!
lovely painting!
Thanks Mei! It was a lot more successful than my recent "from life" attempt...I must be really wiggly...
This is beautiful. The soft tones (warm or not), modeling and ink details are astonishing to me. And the eyes... yours AND the painted ones: what painterly control! Kudos.
Thank you! I should do more wet in wet, it's really a challenge...

No ink, though--a pencil sketch underneath and the rest is watercolor...
wet in wet! wow! it is beautiful. heading off to check out the portrait from life :D
Thank you, Ujwala--all your fault! *G* The one from life just missed entirely! Sometimes I can get at least a likeness, but the recent one just looks like a stranger, except the mouth!
What I love about this painting is the softness and also the way the sweet young girl shines through, despite the marks of age and wisdom.
Miss Jana, "sweet" is not necessarily a word that applies to me...ever! Tough little tomboy...

But thank you so much for your comment...you're a love.


Regarding scanning

Dear Cathy, I have been following your blog for over a year now. I always wanted to ask you this question: "how do you scan your paintings and sketches?" I can't seem to get the true colour (especially natural tones) by scanning. I also lost a lot of the watercolour detail/effect. Can you please recommend a scanner, printer and any advise regarding that? Thanks in advance.

And thanks for sharing your knowledge with me.


Re: Regarding scanning

Hi Christine...thank you for the kinds words! And yes, you've described the problem with scanning perfectly, I'm afraid. I run into many of the same things. Sometimes it's better to take a digital photo in good, indirect light.

You may be able to adjust your scanner--mine's got a place to do that, though I don't often remember. Usually I tweak the images in Photoshop Elements, though those things that get lost in a scan are generally just lost.

Mine is an HP Scanjet 4370--it's a workhorse, and does a pretty good job, though things usually still need adjusting. I had an Epson Perfection--three of them, actually, in short order, but they were all lemons! When they WORKED the images were fantastic. The best I'd seen from a scanner. But...some sort of serious glitch in all three of them and I took them back, one by one, and opted for the HP.

I don't own a color printer, if you can believe it, so no help there, sorry...

Wish I HAD the answers, I could use them too!


I didn't notice the 'grape jelly' until you pointed it out. I responded to this as a beautiful study of a beautiful woman and thought to myself - She really knows what she's doing!
THANK YOU. Actually, when doing wet in wet, I'm just winging it! That's part of what makes it fun...the unexpectedness of it...


Wow. I am in awe. All of your stuff is amazing. I love looking at watercolors, but don't know if I'll ever work up the courage to try my hand at it. Found your site via a comment you left on Chris's ink stone. Amazing what you can find when you wander aimlessly!


amy http://richinteriorworld.blogspot.com
I've found LOTS of wonderful work and interesting people that way!

And thank you--you really should give it a try, it's a lot of fun...and SUCH a challenge!


Wow, Miss Kate--I've been back so many times to look at this, in between unpacking and other things, and each time I see something new. You did a masterful job with the edges here---an amazing blend of atmospherics and plane definitions and calligraphic movement in the hair. The face is so expressive---there are lots of things going on there, but then, you ARE a complex person! How I would love to see this in person. Your wet on wet is just brilliant.
Thank you, sweet thing...I used the Masque Pen in the hair to catch those white strands...worked a treat!

I think I first learned something of wet in wet edges from seeing the work of Christopher Schink, who has also taught workshops for the Nevada Watercolor Society. My beloved brother-in-law used to be their workshop chairman, and he and "Toph" made friends--he's a lovely and talented man, funny and gracious, and INCREDIBLE with watercolor. Take a peek!

http://www.christopherschink.com/ (And fooey, wouldn't you know, Chris appears to be working mostly in acrylics now...)

Edited at 2008-02-29 04:20 pm (UTC)