|Evie ... now Evelyn -- 8 x 10" watercolor on canvas|
Although I now normally paint oils, I'm starting out doing watercolors for my daily paintings because I exclusively painted in watercolor for years, and I miss the vibrancy that medium offers as the surface shines through the layers of largely transparent colors. I'm doing the watercolors on canvas, because painting on primed canvas offers a number of benefits over painting on paper. For instance, the steadiness of the substrate (canvas vs. paper), they don't have to be framed under glass to be protected from moisture and wear. Also, since my watercolors on canvas are coated with clear, gloss, acrylic spray -- which has UV-protective characteristics -- the image isn't as prone the fade as old-style watercolors when displayed in a sunny place. That said, I still feel it still is probably a good idea to not hang one of these paintings in a place where they will be in direct afternoon sun for long periods of time.
For the 17 plus years, I exclusively on watercolor, however, I only painted on paper, because no one believed it was impossible to paint on canvas. Then, Frederix developed an archival "watercolor canvas," and artists starting experimenting with it. I learned about the technique while checking out my local art association's (the Lancaster County Association of Art) class catalog, and I jumped at the opportunity to learn the technique. It was taught by a great teacher, named Karen Frattali. I so loved doing it that I quickly produced a number of really interesting large works in it. However, my exploration of watercolor on canvas was interrupted last year for a silly-seeming reason. We spent the academic year in Ireland (my husband was on sabbatical there), I couldn't find the clear coat acrylic paint I needed at my local DIY store. Thus, I decided to go back to painting exclusively in oils until I got home. I'm so grateful that someone encouraged me to do this daily painting project for myself, because it's so much easier to experiment when working on small pieces.
The topic of today's painting is dear to my heart. She's my niece by marriage. The image is from a photo her parents took around 30 years ago when they were on sabbatical in France. When they sent the photo to us, we immediately framed it - but unfortunately directly under glass. I so loved the image that we periodically would take it out and display it again for a while (despite the fact that she hadn't looked that way in years.) A few years ago we got some great old photos of my husbands family, so I decided to take out that picture, but re-frame it to go with the other photos we got. To my horror, moisture had welded the photo to the glass, so removing it to re-frame it was no longer possible. My niece, who now has two little girls of her own, saw it and asked me to send her a copy of it, but because I couldn't remove it from the frame, I had to tell her "no," and I felt bad. Thus, it is not surprising that when I decided to do this daily painting project, one of the first images I wanted to paint was this one. I call it Evie ... now Evelyn because at around the time this picture was taken, my niece decided that she was too big a girl to go by the name of Evie, but that name still holds a place in my heart since that's what we called her when I first met and came love her.
If people are interested, tell me and I'll post some of the large watercolors on canvas I've done so you can get a better idea of what big works in this media can look like. Also, I'm thinking of doing painting tutorial(s)/tip(s) on watercolor on canvas -- comments/questions?