New Inspiration

A friend of mine recently introduced me to Cheng-Khee Chee’s watercolors. Chee is a highly celebrated watercolor artist in the US and uses a variety of techniques to paint his fantastic pieces. But particularly, my friend shared about his saturated wet technique. I watched this you-tube video:

Since my watercolor class is on hiatus until the end of September, I thought I’d explore this. Being the low-budget girl I am, I didn’t pay to purchase the instructional video. I just got some really thick watercolor paper and sort of made up what I thought the technique might be based on the commercial. My immediate urge was to paint faces.

After slicing the sheet into four panels, I soaked the paper in a cookie sheet full of water for about 10 minutes. Then I sort of shook the excess water off and plopped it onto a board. Using a thick, square brush I globbed watercolor pigment all over the super-wet paper, blissing out on the deep colors oozing and shifting in a rather random fashion. Super fun.

I let the color sit for a bit as I turned the paper around, and around, looking for patterns, looking for the face. Up until now, any faces I’ve painted I’ve drawn first, sketching and erasing until I have a reasonable looking person looking back at me. Preparing to paint without a guide, without a sketch, was daunting.

Then I picked up a damp, clean fat brush and lifted the wet paint off the paper, swirling here, stroking there, sort of sculpting the face from the paint. I learned quickly that this is just as unforgiving as painting the watercolor on – repairs are near impossible with this squirelly medium. Colors get muddy, the water makes all kinds of blobs where you don’t want them, etc. Of course I could paint more on top, perhaps, once it dried, and I may try that later with my very first attempt (not shown here, ugh). This one was my second attempt:


I was pretty happy with this one. I get a kick out of the personality of the face. I have no idea where it comes from. My third attempt, this morning, I like even better:


I discovered that a fine line of pigment sometimes builds up if I push the brush rather then pull. It’s kind of like pushing the paint around, and can allow tiny corrections. I have a ridiculously long way to go to even approach what Cheng-khee Chee can do with this, and I still don’t know how he does it, really. But inspiration is an exciting gift, and I’ve definitely been inspired this week.





9 thoughts on “New Inspiration

  1. So you painted the face first? How very cool. I actually really like the effect of this. I wonder if I could use it on one of my photographs? Thanks for the painting lesson. At one time, I thought I’d be an artist, got in trouble in grade school for drawing instead of paying attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first thing I painted was the colors – stripes, swirls, blobs…then I kind of “unpainted” the face by removing the paint I’d just put on the paper. You’re welcome to use them, I’d love to see what you come up with! To me, being an artist is all about the feeling and the experience, and how I see the world – you are an artist, of course….just because we don’t make a living at it doesn’t make us less an artist. But a girl can dream.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is right…if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true (isn’t that a song?).
        I never would have guessed you painted the face after the blobs and stuff!! Thanks.


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