The Daily Post has a weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is “Launch.” I decided to show you the launch of a new project and since a blank piece of watercolor paper isn’t very interesting, here is my palette. I carefully cleaned up the mixing surface and around the edges of the paint wells. Then, since it is a new year, this is a new project, and I will be starting a new class this week, I put fresh paint in the wells. It turned into a somewhat messy (no, not messy – artsy!) project, but what an inspiration seeing all that juicy paint just waiting to have a brush dipped into it!

Juicy fresh paint for the launch of a new project!

I will be blogging as I do this project, so please be sure to come back and follow along.

This photo of my brothers and me was in the album that my mother put together from my childhood.

An old black and white photo, yellowed into sepia tones

A couple of years ago, I took the photo and decided to paint a picture from it.  It turned out well, and I gave it to my older brother (the one on the left in the photo) for Christmas.  It was the first time I had made an unsolicited gift of my art.  Being a nice brother, he said that he likes it and it hangs over his desk in his office.

First rendition

The more I thought about the picture, the more I liked it and wanted to enter it into our local artists’ show.  As my brother doesn’t live close to me, I had to paint another copy for myself.  I wanted to leave the areas where the sun is shining as white paper and see if the viewer would “fill in the blanks.”  I think this second rendition is better than the first one.  It hung in my husband’s office (do I see a trend here?) until he retired.

Second Rendition

Now my mother, who remembers taking the picture over fifty years ago, has asked me for a copy that she can hang in her house.  So here we go again, and I’m planning what I will do differently to hopefully make the third rendition better than the second.

On sketchbook paper, I did a line drawing, with some of the shading done on the faces.  I place homemade carbon paper under the line drawing and trace it onto watercolor paper.

Tracing the image

Then I applied masking fluid over the areas which I want to stay white.  I will leave a lot of the background white also, but I want to be freer with my application of paint on the figures and the masking lets me do that without worrying about spoiling the whites. Since the masking fluid has to dry completely before I can paint, this is a good stopping place and I’ll get back to work on Monday.

Gray masking fluid