This past February, for our anniversary, Tony took me to Savannah, Georgia. He knew of my fondness for the city, but had never been there himself. It was a lovely time. We stayed at a gorgeous hotel across from the largest park in a city that boasts a few dozen squares throughout the downtown area.
There were only a couple of frustration: and both of them vaguely art-related. For one, the camera had ceased to work correctly. And it’s a nice camera. One of the main things you want to be able to do on a vacation is to document the place and preserve those memories. We did get plenty of good shots, but not without great effort.
I only made time to start three watercolors. Of those, only one is finished and presentable.
- The first attempt was of some palm trees outside our hotel window. However, it never got past the very beginning stages, since the late afternoon light quickly turned to no light at all. I didn’t think to take a picture, and we never found ourselves at the hotel at the same time of day after that.
- A portrait of Tony in a coffee shop. This one also didn’t get finished. It had started promisingly, but a bad choice on one of his eyes gives him a drugged-up look. Unflattering.
- The civil war cemetery. This one was more successful.
As alluded to in the previous post, the materials offered some challenges. I was using an Arches ‘Carnet de Voyage’. That’s a travel book to those of us who don’t actually speak French. This is the good stuff – a high cloth-content paper.
Problem is, I’m used to crappy paper. This Arches absorbs the water quickly and hugs the pigment within its fibers. This actually leads to a slightly duller surface than what I’ve grown to expect. The reason might be that the quick absorption doesn’t allow the water to puddle and pool for very long, and leads to more even areas of color. Which is probably a good thing once you get used to working with it.
The part about the pigment nestling into the paper causes a somewhat duller appearance, unless you compensate by using much more pigment than what I’m used to. And it takes a crazy amount of paint to get that punch when you’re using kiddie watercolor sets. Even then, there’s a limit to the vibrancy you can reach with cheapie paints.
So on a warm February afternoon, Tony and I found ourselves wandering historic Colonial Park Cemetery.
The place is wonderfully peaceful. There are normal graves and ornate mausoleums like the one in the picture. There are also a lot of grave markers that have been separated from their original sites (for reasons that evade me, now). Some of those can be seen attached to the wall now in both the photo and my watercolor.
The painting was completed in a little over an hour sitting there while Tony explored the surrounding neighborhoods.
We’d love to go back. But for now, we have the pictures to bring back a lovely anniversary.