Watercolor: Marigold Eruption and a video on John Singer Sargent

transparent layers in watercolor
Marigold Eruption 11.75 x 10.5 watercolor on paper (available here)  (sold)

What to Paint Next

I snapped a flurry of photos for painting ideas a few weeks ago. When I uploaded them to my computer, the composition on a few of them – especially as seen in thumbnail format (very helpful) – seemed just right for a little watercolor exercise.  I’ve loved window light in roomscapes like this since I was a child, and I reveled to paint another version of this appealing play of brights and darks in geometry composition.  There’s plenty of learning challenges in trying to see & render values and temperatures that convey a relaxed, invitational atmosphere.  Do you see how the curve of the couch in the lower middle, and the slant of the shadows diagonally across the back wall and television screen create the suggestion of a circle, repeated in the table, and bringing the eye to the orange flowers? It’s a volcanic eruption of orange. Put your feet up, sip your tea and take a nice, deep breathe. Everything is going to be okay.

using a grid system in art
Marigold Eruption in process: a grid drawing of the room in light pencil, and transparent washes built one upon the other till the values are right
I got emails from a bunch of you nice folks asking what the support was in the painting from my last post, and it’s Ampersand Aquabord – very nice to work on.

When to Put the Brushes Down for the Day

As a Card-Carrying Member of the Noodle-the-Details-Artist-Club, I totally enjoyed this 3.5 minute video clip narrated by Erica E. Hirshler Croll, senior curator of paintings, Art of the Americas, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  She’s talking about John Singer Sargent’s painting Daughters of Edward Darley Boit – painted in 1882 – and measuring 87 x 87 inches. (If you’re as math-challenged as I am – that’s a smidge over 7 ft x 7 ft.)  This short clip carries a heap of swoon for Sargent’s mastery, and the message applies just as easily to watercolors. Three minutes is crammed with a whole bushel of inspiration to get your edit on: leave out the details. If the video doesn’t show, you can watch it on YouTube here

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post!


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Art Quote
I met this last week a young Mr. Sargent about eighteen years old and one of the most talented fellows I have ever come across; his drawings are like old masters, and his color is equally fine. He was born abroad and has not yet seen his country. He speaks as well in French, German, Italian as he does in English, has a fine ear for music, etc. Such men wake one up, and as his principles are equal to his talents, I hope to have his friendship.
~J. Alden Weir 1874

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5 thoughts on “Watercolor: Marigold Eruption and a video on John Singer Sargent”

  1. Pingback: Watercolor: Vanilla Sun - and a month after the Thomas Fire) - Belinda Del Pesco

  2. Lovely lovely light. Yours, especially. The “bice” green is a lusciously tricky color, isn’t it??

  3. Cathie price

    Interesting as ever Belinda! Love how you take something that we take for granted and turn it into a beautiful art piece. Now that’s talent!!!!

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