Courting the Muse by Daniel Merriam
I'd like to be a good artist. More to the point, I'd like to be a very good watercolorist. I can draw moderately well but when it comes to painting there are some who are so many miles ahead I feel like the race is over while I'm still looking for the gate. It's the last day of a four day weekend, part of which I spent working on the painting a week test scheme I came up with around Christmas. It turns out to have been an overly ambitious plan. I get distracted quite easily by little things like household duties, grocery shopping, reading, watching movies - any excuse will do to avoid the hard work of trying with my limited skills to paint something I'll actually like.
Among modern practitioners one of my long-time favorites has been Daniel Merriam, born in the early 60's and raised with six siblings in a small New England town. His father was an architect and Daniel trained and worked as an architectural artist until the late 80's when he turned to fine art as a full time career. His skill as a draftsman is clear but what really impresses me is his amazing ability to utilize color, particularly over very large areas. Almost all of his paintings are large - some in the range of 4x5' - and I recall reading an interview with him years ago where he said once a painting is begun he stays with it from wet paper to dry until it's complete. He also said he paints almost everything with a number 2 Windsor Newton Series 7 round brush. For those who don't know that's a very small tool.
By yesterday morning I had this drawing (with most of the pencil marks lifted) ready to begin coloring. It was raining and I had no excuse to go out so I spent the day mixing colors and testing gradations on a cheap watercolor block I keep for that purpose. The drawing is bigger than the last few and I was afraid of making a bad decision. Since my art books are in storage I decided this morning to go find some inspiration from what Daniel Merriam has been up to recently. Although I have a fair supply of high quality paints I decided perhaps I just need some new colors and so I went to visit another Daniel (Smith). Any excuse will do in a storm - including writing a blog post rather than painting.
"The fabric of the night sky glides off the brush in this heavenly new shade. Granulating lunar black floats above a phthalo undertone, perfect for capturing a moonlit sky. Inky as midnight, or diffused as the moon on water, semi-transparent Lunar Blue lifts beautifully, leaving behind a mere shadow of itself. This moody new watercolor is sure to entrance."
With descriptions like that you'll understand that painting something beautiful should be as easily done as water flowing off a ducks back. Now that I've written a post and have ordered a couple of new colors I have no further excuse for not heading back to the drawing board.
A girl can always dream. See you soon :-)