Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nothing beats studying an Original

The Moon at the Window. Watercolor, approx. 5" x 7", private collection. I painted this little window scene about 15 years ago. It's influence? Read on:

I once had the opportunity of studying a very old watercolor by J. Riley Wilmer. (All I can find regarding this amazing artist is that he was British, and worked in both watercolor and oil.) The owner kindly let me take it home for a few days to examine it as well as photograph it before it was framed.

I learned so much from that study! I could hold the painting at different angles to view the brushstroke textures, use a magnifying glass to pore over the layering of the colors, and take notes as well as photos.  It was an amazing experience that doesn't happen very often. Well, I guess that was the only time it happened for me. 
The painting is below:

 Dick Whittington in London, by J. Riley Wilmer. Watercolor, 1924.

I worked at understanding his technique, and while I don't pretend to come close to his genius, I'm able to at least have an honest go at it, which just isn't possible from looking at a photo in a book, or a painting behind glass in a museum.

Detail of the aforementioned painting. Look at that water!

The colorful design at the hem of Dick's cloak is thick watercolor--some of it seemingly painted right from the tube with no dilution. Yeah, I know he looks like a 20's flapper, but who knows that Dick Whittington didn't?
And yeah, I wish I still had that painting in my hands.

Next post: More Little Guy sketches.
Thanks for reading!



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