Watercolor Portrait: Something to Say (& a Ken Auster video)

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Something to Say 10×8.5 Watercolor

I started this watercolor portrait over a year ago in my previous studio. Then I packed and moved, and forgot about it till I cleaned and purged the clutter in my current studio last week. (How many unfinished art projects do you have stuffed into cupboards and drawers and shelves?)

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Starting the watercolor portrait with light washes in my previous studio

Part of the clean up last week involved mounting a foam-insulation panel (leftover from my daughter’s quilt wall design project) on one of my studio walls to tack art-in-process up, so I can work while standing, and step back to squint & check values, etc. I have a beautiful easel for that, but the footprint is too deep/big for this room, and I opted to clear the floor space, and work on the wall instead.

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Painting in the studio on my newly installed wall board

The wall-mounted art-surface worked great for stepping to and from, so I could get distance on the art in process. I still love working flat on my table, but I find with figurative work in particular, painting lost and found edges requires a step back, or stepping a whole room backwards with a reverse view in a mirror, and then some squinting. #artolympics I think we often forget that most art will be viewed at a distance, so it’s important to un-hinge from hovering over the surface, and step away. And squint. A lot. 🙂

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Fresh off the art wall in my studio

I’ve been a huge fan of the late painter Ken Auster ever since I saw this painting. His design skills, color choices and mark-making scream the same message to me every time I look at his work: Paint More Often. There is no short cut to accomplished painting skills. When I look at Ken’s work, there are thousands of days worth of dedicated painting behind every color mix, every compositional layout and every stroke-shape of paint on his canvases.

The video above high lights Ken’s life & work, and announces Plein Air Magazine bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award on the late, great Ken Auster.

His paintings move me to Get Back to Work. And the brilliance of his art reminds me to worry more about the process of my art-making, rather than fretting over the end-product. #cultivategoodhabits  Ken died last January from prostate cancer at age 66.  How much time do each of us get here, and which portion of that time do we decide to dedicate to art-making?

Art Quote

Plein-air painting is the perfect forum for learning how to use watercolor, as it is observation-driven. Placing technique secondary to observation is the essence of working the field.

~Ken Auster

4 thoughts on “Watercolor Portrait: Something to Say (& a Ken Auster video)”

    1. Hi Robin! Thanks for visiting! I thought the video was inspiring too – I’m glad you liked it. Lots of encouragement in his words to keep at it, and commit to our own dedication. Paint on, Sculpt on! 🙂

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....