it’s a painting of the little fountain in my friend marie’s backyard in dublin. i loved it when i saw it, took pictures and got them developed way back in 1999, and started painting. but it got complex, and i put it aside, and it was the last watercolor i worked on before i moved on to oils.
but i’ve always meant to finish it. and now that my friend marie has died, i will complete it and give it to her husband, because he built it, and because she always loved it too.
no, it’s not turned funny, and it’s not some strange writing. this is the whole board, painting and scratch area. i started this painting maybe ten years ago, and have had to mash the old masking tape back down a couple of times since then. i’ts been on the board the whole time, and i’m pretty sure it’s not an acid-free board since it was my kid’s first easel ™. but i can still make it archival by a secret new method (tba). anyway, i only used the right half of the paper for the painting, and ended it arbitrarily on the left. yes, it does get wider as it gets lower. but one of the first things i did was to establish the middle line (thru the kid’s belly button) and measure out from there. the painting area is something like 12×22. i’m using heavy duty arches watercolor paper cut from a ten-yard roll (i’m a practical artist: buy essentials in bulk, on sale, and make everything else myself)
it’s a good thing i reserved the left hand side, because over the years i’ve picked the painting up and done a little maybe once or twice (the beginnings of the darks in the foreground), and it’s appropriate that i left working notes the way i did, which i don’t usually. no words, just scribbles and color combinations. it’s an historic record. and then, after taking the picture you see above, i got out my palette and put up samples of all the reds and blues and greens i have, so i’ll know what i’m working with, and can then figure out how to get what i need. i’ll show the whole board again in the end.
so far, the painting is about half done.
here’s a closeup so you can see the pencil lines (which i always erase because that’s where i’m a purist (don’t get me started on fundamentalism)). i had to mess with the shadow / reflection of the kid many times, upside down and sideways – literally – trying to get the curves just right. and they’re not, because a simple glance at the negative space shows the awkwardness. nobody else would notice it but me once it was done, but i have my standards. like i said.
it’s going to take a lot of work, and that work will consist mostly of darks. negative space. the heavy duty stuff that you save for last because it’s so definitive. so scary. so hard to correct. (not really, not when you use non-staining, liftable pigments.) what you’re seeing here are the lights. there’s going to be a great swath of dark starting at the top left and going diagonally all the way down the bottom right. it will change everything.
i always meant to give the painting to marie, altho it would have easily sold, but i’m past the point where i need to make a living from my art (because i live on miracles), and so give most of it to people i love. it’s so appropriate for her now. all the water references – the emotional depths, the place we come from and return to, the stillness of life gone to stone.