Sunday, April 13, 2014


Do you know the saying- "saving the best for last"? That's how I feel right now. My last class before I graduate was a one credit art class. The class was two days and involved a lecture on the Wyeth family and watercolor techniques, with hands on instruction. The next day we went to the Brandywine River Museum.

I have never taken any "formal" art classes and while this class was geared to the completely inexperienced person, the class was full of useful information on watercolor technique. By the end of the first class we were asked to choose a painting from either N.C., Andrew or Jamie Wyeth to replicate. This was rather daunting since none of us were really artists. I know my limitations so I chose Long Limb by Andrew Wyeth painted in 1998.

We were given a rather large sheet of watercolor paper to work from. The first thing I wanted to do was cut it down to card size! I didn't, but there was no way I was going to fill that 12x9 sheet of paper, so I just worked in the middle. I think I missed the yellow aspects of the original, but I think I at least achieved the same tonal qualities on my representation.

The next day we toured the Brandywine River Museum. I am fortunate to live in the back yard of the Wyeth's and to have a museum dedicated to the Brandywine School of Art within driving distance. Our teacher took us on a tour of the museum and talked about the various works of art and how to look at each of them. I thought I knew about art, but I learned how to really look at a painting from the movement to the use of color and perspective.

Half of our homework was to create another painting from a Wyeth painting. As usual I bend the rules. I decided to stick with "Long Limb" but to recreate it in the four seasons. I really wanted to pull out my branch stamps and leaves etc etc, but I stuck to my own art work. I used ink and watercolor  and brought it into my world by making a card set.

Here is a picture of the start of the process. The well loved and used watercolor set in the lower right corner I have had since I was a kid. I will be bereft when it is used up.

I began with creating the four season backgrounds.

Next, I laid in the branches for each season. I wasn't completely happy with how they looked, so I  pulled out my copic liner 0.1 and accented the work with ink. It just seemed to add the definition that the work lacked. 





I am pleased with all of them but summer. Summer just seems to lack the verdancy one sees in summer and the patch of flowers seems rather blob like. I have to remember I am new to all this and practice makes perfect. Winter I added splotches of paint by flicking paint onto the work to mimic snow. You can really see it in the photo, but I also added some Mr. Huey's white spray ink.

I hope you all enjoyed my watercolor explorations and might be tempted to try them yourselves.

Now off to write yet another paper!!


Marisa said...

Fabulously done!!

Erica said...

Gorgeous. I'd say that class was definitely worth it. Those watercolors are the beginnings of some lovely cards.

Bill Wadlinger said...

Very nice work, Sue! You got more done in that short space of time than I did in nine weeks at the Abington Art Center! We'll have to get together to compare watercolor techniques learned. E.g., did you get to masking fluid? (We did, but I never actually had a chance to do it.) See you next week.

Clifford Wadlinger said...

Very nice. They have an oriental quality. Great description of your process. You made it sound EASY PEASY JAPANESEY.

Keep breaking the rules!

LeAnne said...

Wow, Sue....these are amazing! I never felt good enough at "art" to do my own artwork...that's why I was thrilled when I was introduced to stamping!!! Someone else already did the drawing and I could just color it! Thank you for stopping by my blog, too! And I am near Philly too....southern Chester County!

Heather T said...

Hi Sue,
Thank you for sharing your experiences in the art class. Your four seasons paintings are lovely.