The Optimist

Today’s watercolor experiment:

As in yesterday’s experiment, my approach to today’s painting was exploring the use of my new brush. It is a 3/4″ oval wash brush. I really like it.  Whereas yesterday I used it to create a facial profile on completely soaked paper, today I created a couple of contours on dry paper.

The first arc starts with a brush full of pigment (permanent mauve) and uses it up rather quickly. For the shorter arc, I used a lot more paint.

I didn’t realize that my curve was a nose until I put the nostril in. Since noses tend to sport eye glasses, I used the edge of this brush to create a line where the nose piece would normally balance.

Since eye glasses usually contain glass or other refracting material, I naturally thought of a color spectrum. I proceeded to paint Winsor red, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow pale, Hooker’s green, Prussian blue and indanthrone blue on the eye-side of the glass.  On the other side I created a gradation from black to white, a spectrum devoid of color. One can see the shape of the brush by the rounded edge of the color/black and white strips. If I wanted the edges to be flat, I would have had to use a 3/4″ flat brush.

I washed the area inside the nose contour with the flesh-tone mixture I have in my palette: cadmium red deep, yellow ochre and titanium white). I applied this with a 2″ flat brush.

Watercolor: Abstract - profile of a nose with slanty line separating color spectrum from black and white strips

The Optimist
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I call this sketch, The Optimist. It represents someone who can imbue a black and white, colorless world with color. It would be nice to actually be that way, but frequently it seems that I have these glasses on backwards.

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