An old saying....but oh so true.
A couple of months ago I talked about painting more than one 'original' of the same painting. Well, if it's my choice to do it, that's one thing. I'll gladly paint another 'original' for someone.
But......if you have an idea in your mind of what you want the painting to be....and it doesn't turn out, what do you do? I have had several paintings that I wanted to just stop. I seemed to be having problem after problem......or even one big problem. What should I do? Well, I used to just stop and say that's it. Never mind. (easy if it's not a commission piece!). But then I decided to keep on going.....and see what turns out. I have been pleasantly surprised many times, and very glad that I did keep going. Somehow I was able to 'save' the painting.
But......what if you get all the way through and take a good look at it, and say "that is not what I wanted to paint", then what to do? Well, as I was told many years ago, "It's just paper". Paint it again! And see what happens.
I had a commission piece a couple of years ago that just did not work. But I had to make it work. So I finished the first version. I knew that things that I needed to correct as I started the second version. Happily, I was pleased with the second version, as were my customers. (I am not going to show you the painting though, because I don't want them to know that I had trouble ;) )
Now, here we have a photograph that I saw on Facebook. I asked the photographer for permission to paint it and she said sure, but she'd like a print of it. Someone else said that they too would like a print. Oh yeah...I haven't even painted it yet. What if they don't like it......pressure mounting here.......all of a sudden this has almost become like a commission. I attacked the painting, figuring out the colours to match the photo (you know that I'm like that - I like to paint exactly what I see...I am not going to 'interpret' it).......and when I got finished I was so disappointed. My armchair critic and friendly advisors all agreed that it just wasn't there. So at that point, I easily could have said, oh well....and rip it up (because remember "it's just paper")...no big deal.
But I didn't. I decided to paint it over again, just being a bit stubborn. I lightened what I thought was too dark, I calmed the waves, I brightened the whole piece, I chose a bit better colours. And I was very pleased with what I came up with. So I was going to use my #2 painting as 'the painting'. But a funny thing happened as I was looking at them both (I like to sit them on the piano for a day or two and take a careful look noting what can be done to finish)....I ended up liking #1 as much as #2. They are different indeed. But obviously the same place....just a different time perhaps? Things about both of them draw my eye. So I'm calling #2 "MillPond Sunset" and #1 "Millpond Last Light".....because I think now that it's actually the same night, but 20 minutes later! Yeah, that's my story!
And maybe neither one actually is the same as the photo! But that doesn't matter at all does it! And I'm ok if those 2 people choose not to have a copy. We all have a picture in our mind of what a painting will look like.
Ha ha....I guess it IS my interpretation after all!
As we continue in this strange world, are you noticing that time has lost something..... day after day....everything the same.....just going to the grocery store seems to be a big activity. I know that it's different for those with children at home, or those who have been able to continue working. But as a larger group......we're just watching time go by.
I can hardly believe that here we are at the beginning of August. Summer half over. Only a few more weeks until 'school' begins again. I thought that I would possibly try teaching classes this summer, but realized that the logistics of COVID protocol really do not fit in my classroom space.....unless we wear facemasks for the 2 hour session, or I put up some sort of plexiglass screens between each desk. But for now, I've decided to just continue 'the resting'. Hopefully some of my students will be able to paint occasionally. I did send out a few video lessons a couple of months ago, but there are also countless excellent videos on You Tube. Although some have styles very different from what I do, here are some that I enjoy watching:
The Mind of Watercolour
Noelle Curtis Art
Anna Mason Art
Candice Leyland Art
There are several more that I occasionally watch. Take some time...in your 'spare time' and have a look at some of these. You might enjoy them too!
Here are some 'summer' paintings to enjoy while we're still in summer :)
How many times can I paint the same picture.......well.....that depends. Sometimes on how many people want an original of a particular painting!
4 years ago, I painted the popular Black Bridge just outside of Hespeler. It sold immediately, and someone standing nearby said they'd like one too! So I painted it again.....and then someone else.....then someone wondered about a fall one....and a winter one......I think that I painted it 9 times that summer! I was telling a friend about it, and he said you need to get prints! So that's why...and when I started having some of my paintings photographed and printed in giclee prints by Pirak Studios in Kitchener. Jan does a great job and I appreciate his quick service!
Each one is a little different, although I used the same photo reference for each one.
I've done several of my interpretation of the Chantry Island lighthouse at Southampton. The trees are not correct to reality....but I wanted to have the horizon in the water showing on this small piece. This is a very popular subject for my 2 hr workshops.
Those are just a few of the 'multiple' originals that I've done. If someone asks me to repaint one of my previous paintings, I'm usually glad to do it! Because it will STILL be an original...and I know it will be slightly different than the first one.
I think that my watercolours generally fit in to a particular style.....probably even recognizable to those who know my work. I favour the more 'realistic' look, often with quite a lot of detail, especially in my buildings.
These past couple of weeks, I've finally been able to get painting some. I'm in the process of doing a lot of drawings.....that often takes a lot of time for the detailed pictures. If I have a bunch that I want to do, I like to have them ready to go....as I seem to have a habit of procrastinating the 'start' of a painting.....Just get the paint on the paper Debbie!!! But in the midst of the drawing, I've done a few that I've been chuckling at when I see them all together. They are all so different!
So maybe you don't think that they are that different.
But it doesn't matter if they are!
It's good to try different styles of painting. Gets you out of your comfort zone....and maybe it will even be fun...and you'll discover a 'new' you!
Well, isn't that the question....there's not really much new! For those of us staying home, our days go on and on....repeating...repeating...repeating. Who knows what day it is? Have I got lots of painting done? Ha ha ha. No.
But I do have some things going on.
Do you see that blue arm object that looks like a lamp to the right of the TV? It's a HUE Intuition Camera for teaching or recording. I used it in February & early March in workshops and it worked great. It really helped the students see what I was painting.
And now, I have started using it to record lessons/exercises. Since classes have had to be postponed, I've made a few little exercises to send out to them, to give them some new work to try on their own. It's kind of fun.....especially when I remembered to click 'record' (ha ha...I didn't find out until the end of the half hour....had to start it all over again!). The video this week just talked about the colours on my palette.
Next stop......You Tube or Teachable........but not quite yet! (no time ....ha ha)
I paint in a somewhat realistic style. It's what I like. It's what I'm comfortable with. It's the type of art that appeals to me the most when I see other artist's work. I paint from photographs.....mostly all that I have taken myself. A watercolour teacher that I had several years ago was very strong on that point. Nothing to do with copyright etc, but she felt that if you take the picture, you know the place....you know the feel....you know what's just outside of the picture....you probably remember the day...and the weather. And it's way more comfortable to me than even thinking about painting outside.....in the sun...with the bugs....nope. Not going there.
A few weeks ago, I was looking through my photo reference box and recognized some of the photos that I had painted several years ago. Since I also have photos of all my artwork, I was able to match them up. It was interesting to see the ones that I painted closely to the photo (some argue that is not painting, just copying....I don't agree, but I'm not going there right now ;) ).....and the ones that I change. I do often change the seasons, especially in house portrait commissions.
So these are just a few samples of the Before...and ....After. Sometimes my paintings look like my reference....and sometimes they don't. I never know where I'll find inspiration.....or how I'll end up using it. I just know that there is no shortage of it!
It's been almost a year since I started teaching Beginner Watercolour classes! What a fun and challenging direction this has taken me. I am enjoying it and I hope that my students have been enjoying it too!
The next 4 week session begins in the middle of March. I take the students through very basic techniques each week. We do not paint a picture, just exercises. After Class 1 & 2 are completed, the students progress to Level 3 which is also open to anyone with painting experience. Here we will be working together on the same painting over 1 or 2 weeks.
Each unit is 4 weeks long, so it's easier to fit into your busy schedule. The class size varies from 1-6 students, so we have more time for individual guidance.
To register, please click below, or visit
Well January has certainly been a fast month! I had great plans, remember.......so how did I do?
....I did get the bookkeeping done, including inventory. Decided to have a MIDWINTER SALE....30% off!.....I have a LOT of cards and prints and I'll be adding more this spring. What a great deal. Sale is on until the middle of February.
....I did get the storage/organization done. I love my new IKEA Alex drawer unit
.....I did get the classroom organized......that same trip to IKEA came up with new tables giving each student more room. It will be a lot better!
.....I did a commission piece
.....I did other bookkeeping commitments
.....I got ready for 5 workshops coming up in February
.....I got lesson plans re-organized for classes starting again in February
.....but that's all.
No, I did not get time to paint :( Oh well, it's a new month soon!
The Debbie Ellis Watercolours crew at work in 2019!
As we always seem to say, I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I'm not sure why that is, and I thought that it was just something that you felt as you got older. But when I talk to young people, they comment on it too.
So what does my 2019 look like in retrospect. It has been a very good year. Thank you for all the support this past year. It's been very nice meeting so many new people and chatting with them. And I certainly appreciate the many people who have added to their 'Debbie Ellis Watercolours' collection.
As I eased into full-time retirement from bookkeeping, it seems that my art world increased in busy-ness. Go figure. Isn't that always the way. I thought that I would be able to 'paint every day'. Not happening! ( I will add here though that we did spend 6 wonderful weeks on Vancouver Island in Jan/Feb and I did 29 new paintings...yes I painted almost every day on my 'holiday')
The business side of Debbie Ellis Watercolours takes a lot of time and energy and I'm loving it. Between setting up this website....ongoing Facebook posts....starting & posting on Instagram....planning & teaching workshops....planning and starting to teach beginner lessons.....increasing the scale of my Etsy shop and linking all 200+ items to my website.....taking part in 17 shows/craft events which included 15 Fridays at the Hespeler Village Market and 4 days at the Cambridge Christmas Market......commissions.....arranging for & upkeep of my work at The Old Marina Restaurant(Puslinch Lake), Mosborough Market, Olde Bridge Place(West Montrose), and The Revive Studio in Cambridge....keeping updated inventory of prints and cards......planning & getting new stock of prints and cards......answering queries through Facebook, my Website and Etsy (did you know that a lot of my Etsy sales are actually to the US?)....overseeing the matting (thanks to my husband Dennis) and packaging of originals and prints.....and much more.....it's actually hard to find time to paint!
So now it's time to take a pause for the next month......I thought.....but I know me...It won't happen. I've already got a list as long as my arm of things to work on (updating Etsy shop/organizing storage/re-organizing the classroom area/work on SEO for website & Etsy shop/doing some year end bookkeeping)....
.....and still I hope to paint!
Do you have someone on your Christmas list that may be hard to buy for? Or perhaps you're looking for a very special gift....a one-of-a-kind gift. Here's a great idea.
Gift Certificates or E-Gift Cards are available for all Debbie Ellis Watercolours items:
- original art
- giclee prints
- watercolour classes
You can choose your own $ amount and the recipient can make their own choice of art, prints, cards etc
You can choose a class or workshop which is a specific $ amount (plus hst)
You can choose a commission (see commissions page for info) and pay for the size of your choice (plus hst)