On the Line

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with light breezes, big scudding clouds and intermittent warm sunshine, a good day for sketching outside. Inspiration was slow in coming, but finally I decided to have a go at the washing line, attracted by the lovely purply-blue shadows being thrown onto the gravel and the shed.

In the end this picture took an awful lot of fiddling with to arrive at this stage. I struggled with the sky because the paint dried even faster than I’d expected and, even with lifting out, the clouds are rather lumpy. Getting the foliage dark enough to contrast with the sunlit areas seemed to take ages and many goings-over; in doing so, I did get to try out my new W&N Neutral Tint, which seems a very useful addition to the palette. On the plus side, I am pleased with the colour of the shadows of the washing, and also that I managed to get the paint edges crisp and dark enough not to have to use my fineliner to add definition.

Washing watercolour



23 thoughts on “On the Line

    • Oh Laura, thank you so much; if only it felt like that! Every single picture is a quiet battle, and I don’t think that ever stops – as adventurous creators we just become increasingly demanding. But then, the struggle is what it’s about really, I guess. That’s what keeps it interesting, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

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  1. Your picture made me smile for several reasons: not only is it brilliant and with me (from my side of the world) wishing I could do what you did and do what you do…but also because I pegged my wash out yesterday, too! You have inspired me, Rebecca…next washing day I’m going to TRY to do what you did and do what you do.

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    • I couldn’t ask to hear anything more uplifting – thank you very much, and may the muse be with you. I will look forward greatly to you airing your (clean) washing in public! 🙂

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    • Thank you – and it’s lovely to think we share a taste in flower pots, Birgit. I hope mine will be set off to good advantage when the geraniums actually get around to flowering! 🙂

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  2. This is a really beautiful painting. The light lavender shadows under the clothes line are perfect, light, airy, lovely. Nice work!! looks like it was easy for you (but i’m sure it wasn’t because it never is). That’s the goal, to make it look effortless and hide all the drama that went into it, right? you wouldn’t believe the drama and self doubt I go through all the time. My friend, who is a wonderful artist, told me that it is always hard and never get easy. I just looked again at the clothes on the line. So nice. How big is this? I’m dying to do watercolors but I’m afraid of them. Thanks for the nice comment over on my blog, that painting is an important one. The knot of anxiety in my stomach that I had for the first week or so that I worked on it has gone away and I am just so happy with it. Like so happy I could cry. Have a great day!!

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    • Hello Jill! Thank you for taking the time to share some thoughts – I really appreciate your comments. Nope, it wasn’t easy, and it’s so good to hear the truth acknowledged that painting never is. I’d very much like to be able to paint the way you do, as I love your paintings’ freshness and your super understanding of colour, shape and texture. I’m so pleased to hear that you’re happy with your painting after the initial trepidation (I would be ecstatic!), and I’m certain that the recipients will love it. I know I would, and I don’t even know any of the people depicted.

      To answer your question about size, this picture is pretty small, just 14x 26cms, easily achievable in one session. I reduce my worries about painting in watercolours by calling each one a ‘sketch’ to myself, rather than a ‘painting’. This means I can be more relaxed if it doesn’t work quite as I imagined (which is often), because it was ‘only a sketch’. Sounds bizarre, but it works for me, and helps me combat the ever-present fear of ‘failure’. Although watercolours can feel unpredictable, that in itself can produce some lovely, unexpected effects that you just don’t get with other paints. I’d encourage you to dip your toes in the watercolour…if you do, I wish you lots of enjoyment! (Personally, I’m creeping up on oils via acrylics – very, very stealthily…) 😉

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