Monday, March 10, 2014

A little change to watercolor

The Matzah Factory, Watercolor, Pen & Ink on 300# Cold Press Paper

I have been a little frustrated with learning how to use oil paint so I gave myself a break and did a small illustration with pen and ink and watercolor.

In 2012 my husband and I spent 8 weeks in Israel, volunteering (tutoring students), touring, visiting family & friends.  One of the places I visited was Kiryat Sanz, a torah observant community which is part of Netanya (along the Mediterranean coast).  This is a religious village founded by a rabbi in 1960. More information can be found on Wikipedia.

The men of the village help prepare shmura matzah for Passover.  They follow very strict rules, with a rabbi observing them with a stopwatch. This is a round matzah that is baked in a wood fired oven.  I did taste it, but prefer the regular manufactured kind for Passover.

I took some photos and since Passover is coming next month, I was thinking about the holiday and this picture again.  I decided it would be best to do it as an illustration and did a study first.  I am not fond of drawing straight lines, but I used a ruler and was o.k. with them this time.

One of the reasons I like painting with acrylics or oils is that I don't need to be so specific. Also, I really prefer landscapes and flowers since there is more leeway with the process. Animals and portraits are harder for me.

My husband asked me why I didn't put faces on the men.  Two basic reasons: while I had permission to take photos there, I did not have permission from the individual men to use them as models.  From an artistic point of view, I wanted the focus to be on the process of making the matzah, not on the individual men.  I think my little (11" X 14") illustration works on that level.

For those of you who are interested in process, the speckles are made with watercolor pencils. In the dry parts that I want to give a little more textured look I re-wet that part with just a little water. Then I take a piece of sandpaper, hold it vertically over that part and sand the point of the watercolor pencil over it. Let that dry and blow or brush off any excess.  I suggest you try it on a scrap piece of watercolor paper before doing it on your actual painting. You can do multiple colors this way too, not just one color.

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