Closing in on the Finish, February 18, 2010

Jennifer in the Hunt

This painting has had an incredibly long gestation period.  I can say that about my more successful watercolors, and hope I’ll be able to say it about this once it’s complete.  From my website ( there are a number of works that took months to complete, even years when the work would lay dormant for several months, untouched.  This is especially true of “Blues on the Corner.”

Jennifer Stewart is the one who created and maintains my website.  Two of her horses are in this composition, and her husband took the photograph (which incidentally has been published–thankfully, he has given me permission to paint from this published photograph).

Those of you who have followed my blog know that this is only about the fourth or fifth time I’ve painted a horse, and the first time ever that I have painted hounds.  All of this gave me pause, to say the least, and the reasons for this lengthy “gestation” process include anxieties, quitting, spending weeks and months staring at it, painting-stopping-staring-pondering, second-guessing, doubting  . . .  I think you know what I mean.  I could never have pushed this painting out quickly.  It contains too many firsts, and the more improvement I saw in the process of creating this, the more I hesitated to take the next step–you know, the paralysis that stems from the fear of blowing it.”  After all these years, it’s funny (or pathetic) to see how timid and tendentious I can be with watercolor.

So.  Today I went with my wife to Lyndon Acres in Burleson, Texas.  She stables her horse there, and was in the mood for a ride.  I set up my studio under the trees and poured watercolor all over the top two corners to enrich the dark greens of the foliage, being careful to apply plenty of masking fluid before the pouring.  After I got it home this evening, I peeled off all the masking fluid, picked up the brush, and restored the feathery foliage to the dark green areas.

My last step tonight, before posting this and heading to bed, was to pour deep plum colors all over the lower right corner (after applying plenty of masking fluid).  I have sprinkled heavy quantities of salt into the drying pigment, and I’ll find out in the morning how that worked out (I like what it did to the lower left corner lavender wash).

Anyway . . . thank you for reading, and I hope you’re getting as much fun out of this as I am.  I think I could be just a few days away from finishing it (if I don’t get interrupted.  Arrrgh!  The daily life cycle of a schoolteacher).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Closing in on the Finish, February 18, 2010”

  1. lesliepaints Says:

    This is coming along as so colorful compared to many of your paintings. It is frustrating how we look at shapes as people, horses, dogs, etc. Sometimes, as you probably know, it helps to render the reference upside down to get your mind off of the subject and into the shapes.
    I think this is beautiful. Have fun finishing it.


  2. David Tripp Says:

    I often think I should have painted this upside down (the horses and hounds that is–I did in fact paint much of the foliage upside down and sideways). Thank you for your kind affirmation–this is indeed the most colorful watercolor I’ve ever done, hands down. It makes me wonder if I’ve turned a corner and will start using brighter hues. It’s my first poured piece, and I certainly plan to pursue that some more. I’m fascinated with the new things that are happening by the dynamics of pouring.


  3. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Wonderful painting. I really like everything you have done and you have been successful with your “firsts”. Like you, I hope to try pouring color this year. One comment – and I know you are thinking about this! Know when to stop…I think I should listen to my own advice! Good luck, I can’t wait to see the finished piece.


  4. David Tripp Says:

    Hi Linda. Seems I’m always stepping on that rake of not quitting the composition soon enough. And I am looking long and hard at this one. The two foreground corners are thickets, and I’m wondering about the thousands of limbs, scattered leaves and occasional blossoms–or just leaving it as is. I’ll think on that some more. I would like to be finished now, but wonder about the thickets.


  5. asmalltowndad Says:

    Wow, I like this a lot. The hunter being centered, which is different from most, gives a more direct and powerful image. Almost as though you were the hunted. Incredible painting!


  6. David Tripp Says:

    Thanks. I wish I could take credit for the composition–a photographer captured it. I do like the frontality of the group, and was intimidated by it.


  7. Alex Zonis Says:

    It is beautiful, David! Love the colors! Especially like the warm-cool interchange. Pouring is so intimidating, but you have a great handle on it. I am looking forward to its finish and am very curious how you will solve the thicket in the foreground. Nita Engle has some interesting ideas about foregrounds after pouring is done. Do you happen to have her book “How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself”? I read the book, got very impressed, but haven’t tried any of her methods myself yet.


  8. David Tripp Says:

    Thank you, Alex. The painting is finished and I plan to post it tonight when I get home from school. I didn’t make profound changes in the foreground–just added myriads of branches and dropped colors of yellows and greens into the spots protected by the masking fluid. I was trying not to take away from the horses and hounds, so the final touches are quite light.

    I would like to check out the book by Nita Engle. The only pouring “instruction” I’ve received comes from a book I bought titled “Filling Watercolors with Nature’s Light” by Roland Roycraft. I then borrowed a DVD from a member of Southwest Watercolor Society that demonstrated the pouring technique. I was rather daunted by this first pouring attempt, but I love how it came out, and can’t wit to try the next one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: