Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tree House

Tonight I wanted to experiment, so I did this painting of a tree house. I wanted to try using only a few colors, also wanted to try alcohol splatters on it (I hear it makes the paint go away - didn't have a lot of luck with that), also wanted to try a cartoonish, dreamier style. And one more also, I did a lot of wet on wet, which I normally don't do.

I like the concept of this painting, but not sure it came out how I wanted it to. I didn't sketch it out ahead of time, I just let it go - and I feel that the tree house is what suffered for it. I really like the ground - I used leftover coffee instead of water for painting it. I wish I would have used regular water for the sky, though - it looks dirty now, and it didn't turn out as I wanted it to... (I was hoping the alcohol could look like stars, but it didn't).

Oh well, it is what it is :) I learned what coffee painting is and isn't good for, at least.

regular watercolors

After staring at it and hating it, though, I decided to see what would happen if I played with it in Photoshop like I've done with my landscape paintings. I really wanted to add stars and fix the crazy coloring (which I never intended to be so bright).

watercolor with tablet

So now I have two different versions of this, and I'm not overly happy with either of them!


  1. Love how you think out of the box! The effect you have on the ground is fantastic. Keep experimenting!

  2. I really like this one, Jess. It is so cool to step outside the box, I think. I tried using salt on a piece once as it was supposed to do the same type of thing (I was going for flecks and splashes of a rushing creek water). My salt stuck and dried to the painting and I had to really work to get it off. It didn't work for me at all, though I've been told I should have used a coarser salt. I am wondering if you had used an old toothbrush to spatter the alcohol if that would have given you more the effect you were after? No matter; I think this is a great experiment and I really love the use of coffee for the ground. I saw another blogger do that with a sketchbook piece once and it was really one of my favorites of her's. I also like the sky and the background colors you got on this and I really, really wanna live in that treehouse!

  3. Thanks Sheila, I really like how the ground came out! The light area looks almost like a sand pit or something in front of that tree. I didn't intend that, but I like it.

    Mom - I don't think a toothbrush would have made a difference. You can see where the alcohol is (the lighter spots in the sky). Though a toothbrush most likely would have made the splatters look nicer, you can tell the alcohol didn't really do what I thought it would. The tree house isn't bad... But I think in my blind painting and trying to make a shape out of it, I ended up with outlines that are too thick for the rest of the painting. It just looks out of place here (but I like the ladder!)

  4. Ooh, I really like the addition of the stars. That said, I like the colors and the effects better in the original! By the way, if you'd rather not use photobucket, you can just upload to your blog directly from your computer by using that little icon of the picture on your new blog entry page. Allows you to browse and upload directly from the 'puter.

  5. The more I look at the original, the more I hate it! I like the ground, but the rest is gross. Now I know why I prefer to not paint with so much water. I like the 2nd version better... it does more of what I originally wanted it to look like. It doesn't even look like night time in the original, and it was meant to be!

  6. I like both of them, but the first one makes me really, really sad. Why? I have no clue. I admire your courage in trying different things. Keep going!

  7. I follow your mother's blog, Autumn, so was led here from there. And I'm glad to be introduced to your amazing creativity! This piece has a captivating, fanciful feel to it, which for some unknown reason, brings the old movie "Beetlejuice" to mind. There is a similar blend of being both a little spooky and a little sweet (in a slightly weird way). I like it.

  8. Candy - thanks!

    Mary - welcome! I was going for a different look with it. A little spooky and a little sweet sounds about what I wanted it to look like. I haven't heard the name Beetlejuice in about 17 years!

  9. An interesting piece. You show great creativity. The important thing is that you are experimenting with your medium. It takes a lot of experimenting to finally settle on a style that one is happy with. Keep doing what you are doing.

  10. How about trying wax crayons Jess? I read that somewhere and it may give the kind of effect you want.
    I like both the versions! Now all it needs is an imagination of a character and a cute story to go with it :)

  11. Thank you WC, I really liked the style in my mind, I just wasn't quite able to accomplish it... Maybe if I sketch it out beforehand next time, i'll have better luck!

    Prabha, it's definitely worth a try! For the most part, I've always stayed away from crayons and colored pencils because I don't have the patience for coloring large areas with them... I should write something for it, I was thinking it wouldn't look half bad with both versions framed beside each other in my son's bedroom, with a poem or something to go with it in the middle.

  12. Spud looks so cute! I'm so glad you added him to the blog. Now, about that little boy kitty of your's...


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