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Rain on the Window

Since my spring classes have ended, I've been visiting my family and friends back home in Florida. And, as any of you Floridians who are reading this know, the beginning of June marks the start of the rainy season here. Rain is my favorite kind of weather, though, so it has done nothing to impede my activities this summer.

On one particular outing, I snapped some pictures of some rain on the window of my boyfriend's car on I-4 and 408. They're all terribly lovely, and this one in particular I fell in love with immediately after taking it.

I really liked that this particular one had a street lamp and a sign, and that the camera had focused on the water on the window instead of on the landscape. If I could spend all my energy creating the art I like to create rather than what I know other people like, I would just make things like this. I love turning the mundane into something beautiful.


So I got started on my process. I actually didn't do a sketch with this one; instead, I sort of just went for it, blocking everything in. I played around with a lot of wet on wet painting, which gave everything a hazy look that was absolutely perfect for something out of focus. I first washed the whole paper with Daniel Smith's "Neutral Tint" paint, and then built it up from there. The whole time I'm building the skyline and the clouds, it's all that same neutral tint, which I tend to like better than black since it's thinner and a little cooler. It also mixes better with other colors when you're custom mixing paint. The only other colors I really used were Sap Green and Lavender in the grass and the sky.

After I laid everything down that I wanted to, I started pulling it all back up again. Making room for some of the bigger water droplets, I used my teeny tiny brush to scrub away the paint, and then used a fluffier and more absorbent brush to pull up the paint I'd loosened.

Once I let the paint dry enough for me to not have issues, I started with my white inking. I say inking, and while I use a gel pen for some thinner marks, most of my white I do with a paint pen since the opacity is better. It's a new technique I've been trying, going in with the white first. I find that when I ink in black first, I tend to overdo it with the texture and end up drawing over things in white and it just looks messier than I'd like. Here we're putting in detail exclusively on our water droplets since that's the only part in focus. I also added all the little tiny drops that weren't worth me pulling out the paint for.

Lastly, we add in our black ink. I'm just putting it here in the darkest parts of some of our bigger water droplets to give them a little depth. It's a little stylized, yes, but I've never been one for photorealism. Watercolor sort of has a mind of its own, and I prefer playing up that whimsical look by not trying too hard to make exact realistic replicas of life. You want a photorealistic image? Great, hire a photographer.

And that's it! That's the picture! I'll scan it later and have it available as a print, but I'm still debating on whether or not I'm willing to part with the original. All my watercolors make my heart so happy when I make them, so sometimes it can be hard to part with a piece of art, especially when I've taken the reference image myself or have some connection to it personally. I know the people who take home my art will take good care of them, though.

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