Monday, February 9, 2009

Broken Windows - In Memory of Andrew Wyeth

Looking through Andrew Wyeth's painting following his recent death, I was reminded how nice the drybrush technique could be. But I also knew it could prove time-consuming as one worked to find that perfect - albeit minimal - amount of moisture to transfer the pigment to paper. Too much water and one loses the drybrush effect. Too little and it becomes difficult to dab more than a few faint, wispy strokes with each loaded brush. (Sometimes the faint brush strokes are desirable, of course.) Executed correctly, however, drybrush proves perfect for rendering texture and depth in a piece. When not using his preferred egg tempera medium, Wyeth would use drybrush for landscape and architectural textures that can prove elusive in straight watercolors. In "Geraniums," for example, Wyeth used a combination of watercolors and drybrush to paint a through-the-window study of Christina Olson.

This painting, my first attempt at incorporating the drybrush technique into my work, is based on a series of images I took along Route 10 in Virginia's Isle of Wight County. I knew that watercolor washes just wouldn't give me the desired weathered texture of the window frame. I debated whether or not to allow enough light in the picture to reveal hints of the building interior. In the end, I preferred the reflected opaqueness of the intact windows with only the tattered curtains visible, while leaving the interior dark - and thus a bit mysterious or foreboding. 9" x 12", watercolor, drybrush, pen and ink, on Fabriano paper.

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5 comments:

Barbara said...

Brian, this is absolutely excellent! Absolutely. And to think I have driven past this window without knowing it. Really = you have done a marvelous job. Wow.

Barbara said...

P.S. Belatedly, Happy, happy birthday!

jblack designs said...

Wow. Very cool.

Isabel said...

Love the way you captured this window. Beautifully done!

misty said...

this painting is amazing, as all of your work that i have seen. beautiful! someday i want to paint like that, but right now i don't have the patience or skill... someday!
thank you for stopping by and sharing this with me!

love your nyc shots, too! oh how i could go for a little city stroll right about now, always so much inspiration... but i am sure you feel the same (maybe) about the mountains here in va... soon they will turn green, i cannot wait until they do!