Sunday, May 5, 2013

How To Make Beautiful Paintings With No Skill Or Effort
Here are four lilies and a rose that I did for my husband's cousins, who lost their very aged mother, my husband's aunt, back in February. There are seven cousins, all but one of whom I have a card-sending relationship with. So I had six cards to paint.
 That's a lot of cards. So I needed to get a system going. I decided that I would do them using my trusty light box.
This is what I did, with the exception of the beautiful rose you see below, which was done from life, in my garden, on a hot June afternoon, a few years ago. I used an ordinary pencil for this one and the inks I describe below. I do love this painting - it takes me back to that hot afternoon, and we get few enough hot afternoons round these parts. The painting had been sitting around on a shelf for years - four at least. I am exceptionally fond of the particular cousin I sent it to, so I sent it with love, which is saying a lot for me, as I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to things I've painted. I never want to give them to anyone. What's the point of keeping them if no one will see them? There's no point. And I especially don't want to give them away if they've come out particularly well. But years ago I made a kind of rule for myself: ONLY give them away (or better again, sell them) if you cannot bear to do so.
But back to the lilies. I went to Google Images, found four pictures of lilies that I liked, printed them off at the right size and popped them onto my light box. I drew directly onto watercolour paper, in a waterproof fountain pen. I used a Platinum pen with black carbon ink. It only takes a second or two to dry and then you can lash nice wet watercolour on top. 
 I used Dr. Ph Martin's Radiant watercolours which are really intense but are not lightfast so you can't sell work done in this stuff. A year down the road and the image will be noticeably lighter.
There you go! Five cards. 
Now, there was a sixth...this cousin lived with her mother and to my mind deserved the fanciest card. I'm very sorry if you like this image the best of the lot because I can't take the credit for it. It is a lightbox rendering (ie tracing) of a stunning painting that I found on a plain greeting card a few years ago. I had always planned to make a copy of it. I used regular watercolours with this one so it won't fade. I really enjoyed painting it because my normal style is very tight, and this painting forced me to be really loose and not worry about "mistakes". I shouldn't really have signed it at the bottom because it's not my image. When I find where I've put the card I will add his or her name.
The last bit: the light box is called a Light Pad and I use an A3 size which is still tiny, the useable areas being much smaller than A3. But it serves its purpose for most things. I bought it online and I use it all the time for my illustration work. However, I wouldn't DREAM of using it for my "live" on-location sketching...I don't even touch up colour or anything else once I've left the location, to me that would be lying - and probably mess up the image too.
Good luck with your paintings everyone. With this "cheat's" method I can guarantee you will have hours of fun using the method I've described here, with none of the frustration of useless drawing!

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