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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lorrie #77 - Sea Lion on the Beach

Sea Lion on the Beach, watercolor 18 x 24 inches
I wish this had been plein aire... that close to a cute little sea lion (and one that would pose a long while). It's based on a couple of photographs from a magazine and a tour brochure. The painting is much larger than I usually would have thought to paint a critter, but it is one of seven I just put up in a cafe in Berkeley. (Each painting needed to be this size or larger to look good in the large cafe space.) You would laugh at the way I work on sheets this size -- I do not staple or tape my paper down to a flat surface as every watercolor technique book says "you must!" Instead I simply lay the paper on a larger sheet of foam core board, and rest that on my ironing board for a "table." I work standing up. That way I can move the paper and/or foam core support around during wet washes, using gravity as an ally in giving movement to the water and pigments. I usually end up propping the foam core support at an angle as a wash dries, to get the results I'm after and to avoid backruns of color (when not desired, that is). It's a whole-body exercise... usually messy, not always successful, but certainly exciting. The paper buckles like crazy as it dries, yes, but when it's fully dry I spray the back with water all over, let that set in a few minutes, then place the paper between two more sheets of foam core, lay all that on a flat surface (e.g., the bed), and pile weight on top. I've found that a few blankets are good for weight and can be spread out as large as needed to give even weight. After a few hours the paper is pretty flat again, and ready for another round of painting. That couple hours waiting time is a chance to make progress on another painting or ... well, to do anything else and get a breather from focusing on that particular work.
Was that too much info? Hope not!


Elva Paulson said...

That sounds like the best use yet for an ironing board! At one time I was doing a lot of spattering in acrylic and decided my chest freezer was a good flat surface. Over the years it took on quite the patina.

Wonderful little sea lions pup.

CathyO said...

Hearing about your process was very interesting! I use something called a Boga Board, which is a 1/2 sheet sized plastic rectangle with wedge inserts. After you thoroughly soak your paper and it starts to lose the sheen you insert the wedges and they hold the paper tight and flat. However, you are limited by the size of the board if you want to do something larger....

I love this sea lion. You can tell you have an affection for these animals!