Here is more detail than you ever wanted to
know about any of my paintings.
But, it is worthwhile to reflect on the process
inside your own head once in a while.
I reflected back on the process
to figure out what worked this time.
The best thing I did was to start with an
of how I wanted the painting to look,
pre-visualization it's called.
Yet, as it developed, the idea changed.
You have to be willing to go with the flow,
allowing the process to dictate the correct
While in Taos, last summer,
I got this great photo
of a workers shadow cast onto a large
buttress of the Ranchos Church.
Of course it changed, from the original photo,
as it developed, but that's the
creative process at work.
I did everything right this time.
In watercolor it's some planning
and lots of lucky accidents.
Sometimes things work out,
this time they did.
I paint on Arches 300 lb cold press,
a rough textured paper.
I used a full sheet.
Yes, the sky is wet n wet,
I dropped sea salt (large crystals)
into the wet paint. I probably dropped
extra water on the crystals
so they would dissolve better
and do their own thing.
Whatever the crystals decided to do today
was OK with me.
I did this painting in three sittings.
(3 different Tuesday nights)
I have at least six hours invested in it.
The first night I did the drawing,
from a photo I took (June 2000)
as they restored the church's adobe walls.
I'm getting better at distorting the shapes
and lines and not being too literal in my
I am also trying to do more of what the painting
and care less what is really there in the
Of course it's still very realistic,
but that's me.
Next I applied acrylic modeling paste
with a palette knife,
mostly to the large buttress in the foreground.
I picked up this technique years back
from Tim Collins (Tim's from Wyoming)
He goes to the Sagebrush
Inn, each June,
to paint like many other great souls.
Then, I laid a clean water wash on the
portion and then painted in the sky,
adding the sea salt,
and went home
for Christmas Vacation.
I began to paint the church walls.
This is my first real success at painting
edge to edge and allowing the
four deckled edges to be part of the painting.
But those edges don't show in my photo on
the web site, sorry.
I have always admired the way a
painting looks when matted and framed
so the deckled edges show.
I will frame it that way.
I usually paint about 3/4 of the sheet
and waste those expensive edges and more
which just get cut off and thrown away
or used for testing colors on.
As for the texture on the adobe,
I used table salt and margarita salt,
and of course the modeling paste
added a coarser texture on the buttress up
I painted the bell tower roof,
vega sadows and the truck silhouette
that second night.
I didn't have courage to go any farther that
On the last and
I realized the large buttress was still too
and did not appear to come forward
as it should,
so I began by repainting the buttress.
It needed to be a lot darker,
and a stronger red to pull away
from the middle ground elements.
It was also to be the focal point as well
because the workers shadow would bend across
Things dry slow in Kansas,
so I worked on the vegas and the gravel pile
and visited with friends
as the new buttress colors dried.
I needed a dry surface to paint the
dark shadow on
or the colors would bleed together.
So, I needed to wait.
The last, the culminating part
of the painting,
was to mix up color
and paint in the cast shadows
across the curved buttress.
I also darkened the right edges of the
painting at that point.
I am very pleased with the results.
Sometimes it all works out.
This was one of those times.
Happy Painting, Woody in KC