One of the nice things about art in St. Louis is that there are so many places to do it.* There are numerous artists who have studios that they open to other artists on a regular basis for painting or drawing. Typically it is 3-hour session, and everyone pitches in $10 to pay the model. Models are typically paid $50 for the session.
Some studios focus on gestural drawings — a series of poses, usually starting at 2-minutes each and working their up to 20-minute poses — and some host long poses, where the model will hold a pose for the entire session or even for several weeks of sessions in a row. Both are fun and both help one become a better artist.
Today I painted at the studio of Philip Pershbacher, a local artist whose chief love is sculpture, but who also draws in a very classical style. Philip’s studio is always a long pose and he will sometimes have a model do that same pose for several weeks in a row.
I have not been working in watercolor for awhile, so I was keen to get back to it. A lot of people I talk to say that watercolor is unforgiving — that it doesn’t allow you to correct mistakes. My personal experience is different. I find it very flexible and forgiving. If I am not happy with how something looks, I just dip my bristle brush in clean water and scrub the paint right off. You have to use good quality watercolor paper to do this, because if you scrub cheap paper, it will fall apart or the surface will ball up.
Sometimes after scrubbing a stain remains, but so what? It’s part of the history of the process. We all have scars from life — why shouldn’t our art?
This painting required a lot of scrubbing, especially on the checks. I kept adding color and taking it off, slowly getting to a place where I was happy. I also scrubbed off color to add highlights, the bright areas on the model’s nose and forehead and immediately under her eyes, but later added back in some yellow as the white was too bright for me.
Watercolor is fun and fast, and cleanup is a breeze.
* This may very well be true of other places, too, but I don’t know about other places.