Anastasia O'Melveny - Visual Artist & Photographer

Watercolor Process

Watercolor was my first artistic medium.  I learned by watching my Grandmother paint wildlife for the U.S. Dept. of the Interior.  She also traveled extensively and painted during her travels.  I remember especially the paintings she made in Italy.  From about 6 or 7 years of age,  I painted along side her whenever I visited her.  I too loved painting animals.


I used my skills at watercolor painting during the 10 years oo so that I worked in the medium of stained glass.  My sense of color and feel for nature were a big help especially at the color selection and "cartoon stage".  And I used these skills again when I started using egg tempers and fresco which need a similar "touch".


Presently I use both types of paper (hot and cold press) and the traditional method of stretching wet paper on a board.   In recent years, I have often turned to traditional gesso panels.  I the glue and chalk mixture and coat either wood or masonite panels with many layers of this mixture, sanding each one with the finest sandpaper and finishing up by burnishing with a damp cloth to get the same smooth egg shell surface one would use for egg tempera.  It turns out to also be wonderful surface for watercolor.  The whiteness of the panel shines brilliantly through the colors.  


For paint, I prefer blocks of color over tubes of paint.  My favorite paint company is Yarka (also called  St. Petersburg).  They are semi-moist and easier to use that the dryer types of blocks and there are a few unique russian pigments in the array.  Windsor Newton's are also good.   Sable brushes are to be desired but the new white synthetic sable watercolor brushes work just fine for most work.  I usually paint indoors  - either with my subject or from memory/imagination or photographs.  I have tried painting outdoors but the preponderance of twigs and sand, wind and water, and the fact of needing a stable flat surface makes the experience more of a circus of errors than an enjoyable time. 


Most of the paintings shown here date back a number of years to the 80's and 90's.

The House in Moonlight and Ashokan Reservoir are recent of ones.  To some paintings I add an etched overlay to the watercolor to strengthen lines and add texture.  Appalachien and Rose Bush by the Road are examples of this technique.

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