Friday, August 29, 2008

A Whale of a Kale

Well, the Virtual Sketch Date that I signed up for lurched at me when I didn't have time to pay it due attention. Sherrie's beautiful photograph deserved much more dedication and concentration, but I really wanted to try, so....

I have been cleaning out my studio, and while doing that, came across a little trial bit of paper where I'd used white gouache as a resist, with watercolour over it. Thought Ah! that would be perfect for a rushed virtual sketch date where little veins and frills and highlights are required. So I painted quick flicks of palely-tinted gouache around, let them dry momentarily, then set to with the watercolours, and - eeh - disaster!.. the gouache melded into the translucent greens and mauves, and they went milky and cloudy, and I almost gave up the whole thing. But then - c'est la vie, caution to the wind, sploshed and washed and made cauliflowers (what better place to let watercolour cabbages and cauliflowers happen than on a kale painting?) and the opaque gouache and the transparent viridian and purple divided into very interesting granulations and unexpected specklings and bleedings and it was quite fascinating. Lots of things were left out - the sprig of pink flowers and the amazing background colours and shapes and the starry grassy stuff in the foreground, but I'm happy that it turned out so much better than it looked like it was going to.

22 comments:

Gillian said...

oh yes - I love how the paint (gouache + w/c)has done its own thing! Your kale did not fail! I love it - well done! I'm glad I was able to make it pop up bigger. The enlarged painting allowed me to see the interesting veins and frilly bits.

leslie said...

I think luscious is the word!

When you say 'gouache as a resist', I wasn't aware that it would create a repellent surface when dry.
I don't watercolor, but that is a handy bit of info.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks GPH - I put a bigger image up to try and show all the little weird things that happened - still can't see all the textures properly, it was a nice surprise.

Leslie, I can't remember how I found out about that - it's not totally repellent, and I think I should have let it dry longer and washed over it more lightly. You can also lift the watercolour off very easily from the gouached bits, making cleaner areas where you want them - fun!

laura said...

It's wonderful! So strong and healthy looking! The blending of the greens and violets--without mud-making--is great: I was afraid to let the two colors get near each other! And your drawing is very good: I could not get that center, make it look round and "in" there ...Amazing.
Had no idea gouache was resistant!

Vivienne said...

What a terrific, spontaneous cabbage! Your harnessing of the paints' chemistry (or physics, probably)is wonderful.
Would it be un grand choux in French? Looks packed with antioxidants, ready to eat.

Cathy Gatland said...

Laura - I learnt about the mix of W&N Winsor Violet with Viridian from our Ptg Holiday teacher, Adam (Dordogne Painting Days)- you wouldn't think it would you? But it makes gorgeous soft bluey greys and greens - great for distant mountains (thanks Adam!)

Vivienne, that physics was rather alarming at first, but I'm glad I ran with it and let it do it's thing. My French stops at c'est la vie, bon jour and bon soir (the latter not to greet airport officials with first thing in the morning ;oD), so I'll take your word for it.

"JeanneG" said...

Very good job. I love the colors and all the bits and pieces. I too almost gave up. I'm glad you kept at it.

Vivienne said...

Tres bien, ma petite choux. Fluent aren't I?

shicat said...

Gouache and watercolor, this is beautiful, the milky whites are just great. I didn't know that gouache could be used to resist color? Anyway, whatever you did it worked beautifully

Stacy said...

Wow! I love this. The veins are so well done and I love the colors and texture. It is a bold painting and it looks like you had fun with it. All experiments should turn out this well. I will definitely have to try the gouache as resist method.

Andy said...

Hi Cathy, if this is what you can do when you're rushed I'm really impressed, I'd be very happy indeed if I'd done this - it's excellent.

kay susan said...

If this is what you do when you have a lack of concentration, I'd be afraid to look when you are paying attention!!! Gorgeous! I'm going to have to try that gouache w/c mixture............

Rose Welty said...

Cathy, I love this, I really do. Well done sticking with it.

Cathy Gatland said...

Wow, what a lot of nice visitors and comments - thanks for coming to look, everybody. My computer's giving me a bit of uphill, but I will try and get to look at everyone else's Sketch Date submissions in the next day or two.

laureline said...

Glorious! The colors are beautiful, the paint handling superb. It is SO much fun to see all the versions of this subject!! I hope I can join in next time.

Gail said...

Hi Cathy, I really like your watercolor. I'm jealous..I look at mine and go uuggh!
Wonderful work, Thanks for the view.
gail

Sharon said...

This is just wonderful to look at!

Kari Gibson said...

Amazing - after all those problems and it still looks absolutely wonderful. Great job and proof that the art of good painting is knowing how to correct (or go with) mistakes.

indiaartist said...

What do I say! A masterpiece!

Barbara Weeks said...

Great! Thank you for telling your method. I can learn so much from it!

A Brush with Color said...

beautiful! It's so fun seeing all of these. So soft and pretty!

tracywall said...

Love your colors as they fade, and those veins! Lovely piece. Well done!