Christmas Ball 2

This is a little different subject for me, but it shows two themes I’ve spiraled around and visited many times and in different ways: circles and ribbons.

Victorian Flavor

These heavier, opaque colors give it an antique, almost faded, effect that I like with the swirling ribbons. The pigments are Potters Pink, Cobalt Turquoise and Mars Black. I tweaked the ribbons a bit and added the ornament topper with Prismacolor colored pencils*.

This is the second attempt at this. The first was – Meh – the composition was lame. Just to prove it, I’ll show you that one too:

Christmas Ball 1

I’ve gotten quite a few comments about the splatters so thought you might like to know a little bit more about them.

The Splashes Aren’t a Mistake

Have you noticed they don’t go over the focal point of the painting? That’s because I mask it over with either a carefully cut piece of paper or a crumpled tissue depending on how precise I want to be. I know, it sounds silly: precise, when throwing paint around?

Next, I consider the color of the splatter – usually it’s the color I want to read as dominant. Sometimes I’ll use a lesser color to bring that out but it’s been the failing of more than one painting. Too many colors make them look too chaotic which is why I very seldom use more than one color to splatter.

When I mix my paint, it’s thin and I use a squirrel brush that I got years ago from Blick. It’s got a fat belly and holds a lot to splash with. First, I start with mostly paint and dip into water as the splashes get lighter.

Before I pitch the paint, I stop to decide the direction and thickness I want. I try to “aim” the splashes so they add to the composition and direct the eye with the other elements. It’s not exactly rocket science and there’s a lot of just letting the perfectionist go in this step.

After the splashes are laid down, I tweak them by soaking up the too dark spots with a thirsty brush and spritzing others with a fine mist to feather them out. There’s plenty of time for all this messing about but I try to stop and get away before I ruin it. But, that’s the secret of painting with watercolor isn’t it?

Love It! Hate It!

Some people love the loose look or the splattering while others think it looks like a studio accident. Maybe I should call it “decoration” or “embellishment” instead?


*Amazon Affiliate link to the BIG 120 pencil set!