"Animal Crackers"


Late in October I attended a mixed media event in Seattle – an inspiring collection of workshops for mixed media artists.  I took two classes and this was the result of one of them.
It’s amazing how obvious the answer is once it’s in front of you!  As an animal painter, I’ve long been dissatisfied with my palette – browns, greys, blues, and greens – boring!  Other people might look at a brown dog and see hints of purple in the fur.  I just saw brown.
In Helen Schaeffer Garcia’s “Animal Crackers” class, we painted portraits of our pets in watercolor on crumpled masa rice paper which we glued to a canvas.  The “rule” was that we were not to put any neutral tones on our palettes – just pure bright colors.  Of course, one could mix browns and greys from these colors, but I resisted nobly (except for the squirrels where I added a bit of orange to my blue).  So instead of paying such close attention to hue, I focused on value and temperature.  It was so fun!!!
I don’t necessarily think I’ll continue to work this way, but I will do several paintings in this style as a way of better understanding color.  And hopefully that will then result in a change in my own approach.
And, I have to say that I never thought I could feel comfortable with watercolor, but in this method I am.  Thanks, Helen!


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