Where There’s a Will…

Back home after a week’s visit to LA to see the kids and the grandchildren. During the past week I waxed (nearly) poetic about my granddaughter, Sidra. She’s ten years old and a wonderful young lady (see Another Interview with Sidra, Painting Lesson, Trepidation, House Painting).

I have not spoken much about William. He is 18 months old. He doesn’t talk yet, but he is very interactive. Will is very physical. He started walking at 9 months of age. Truly a child of the present century, he is a button pusher, and a swiper. Anything with a button is fair game for Will. He also knows that if he draws his finger across an iPad screen, he can change the screen to see… pictures of buttons to push.  We are all aware of the possibility of autism and are a little bit worried about his not speaking at this point.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

The day before Halloween, we all went to Sidra’s school to see her march in the parade.  There were crowds of children organized by grade (and size), getting ready to march around the playground and show off. It would have been impossible to keep track of a free-range William, so I spent most of the parade holding him. He became very sleepy.

My son-in-law, Vincent, took a picture of us, which I rendered in watercolor.

Watercolor: Will and Grandfather

William at the Halloween Parade
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I began with a light sketch from the photograph.

Digital Photograph: William and Me

William at the Halloween Parade
Digital Photo

I used a different formulation for the flesh tones: cadmium red light and yellow ochre, with titanium white. The cap is composed of varying shades of olive green. The other pigments in this composition include cerulean blue deep for Will’s jacket; yellow ochre and Van Dyke brown for the hair tones and Indian yellow for the shirt (I didn’t feel like painting in the green plaid).


This sketch need a bit of touching up, darker shadows, for instance. But I do believe I captured Will’s mood of tired vacancy. I kept the sketch to a minimum, mainly to rely on suggestion and avoid explicit mistakes in drawing details.

6 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will…

  1. I love your interpretation of the photo with your painting. When I read that one of the colors you used was “titanium white” I instantly thought of Bob Ross. I loved watching that show when I was younger. It was so relaxing to me, and while I don’t have an once of artistic talent when it comes to painting, I love watching those that can. 🙂


  2. It’s nice to see a photo of you Jack – and such a tender one. I’m sure I would watch any grandchildren I may be blessed with like a hawk so I understand that anxiety…


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