Friday, April 13, 2012

Carousel, The Watercolor, Not The Musical


I did ride the Stillman carousel made in 1928 by that company and loved all four and a half minutes. The only thing missing was cotton candy afterwards.

This is my first watercolor interpretation of this photograph I shot from astride my horse that went up and down as we went round and round.  The carousel is in the pavilion  of the Grand Rapids People's Museum. The pavilion extends over the Grand River. The ride was a gas, as Sammy Davis Jr. (Who) would have said.
I didn't get dizzy at all--or nauseous.

 I was moved to get out my watercolors by Dan Kent's (Dan's Canvas) post yesterday. It was something he said Frank Eber said: "Try not to do too much" with watercolors. That's what I had forgotten! I read nearly the same thing  in my most favorite wc book: Painting Outside The Lines by Linda Kemp, which first got me to buy some tubes and actually try the medium. The author praised it for allowing spontaneity. I loved her paintings and you know I love spontaneity. I intend to do a few more alla prima interpretations of the colorful carny ride I loved as a kid and again on my wedding anniversary.  I was just sorry there weren't more people adding to all the glorious colors -- but then, it was nine thirty in the morning.  I wanted to make sure no little kid was going to make me feel sorry for him just because I got the last horse. I feel satisfied with this painting; it's a step in the right wc direction for me.

The carousel pavilion in Grand Rapids as seen from the 23rd floor of the JW Marriott

I kept zooming in to see if the lights were on in the carousel
so I'd know the museum was open.






23 comments:

  1. Love the abstractness!... The anonymity gives a dreamlike quality... You know watercolors are my favorite.. I like it because it shows such a relax yet sensitive feel. Yours look effortless. ( ok, now how swelled is your head? just kidding :-) )

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    1. It was a fun, nostalgic ride and, after the last couple of days of tense, a fun, happy painting session. Artists' heads stay swelled till the next painting, when the swelling goes down when the self-doubt step back in--not to worry. :-))

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  2. I like this painting a lot--glorious colors.

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    1. It was a glorious day--I was so worried we wouldn't really get over to that museum, (Honey thought I was silly to want to ride with the rest of the kids LOL). I kept watching the place from our room to see what the hours were, to see how long the rides were, to judge if it didn't go to fast--too fast and I would worry my chronic vertigo would revolt and I would have to nix it. None of that happened of course. And the painting went well too when I threw out my stupid notions of what a watercolor should be and how other artists handle the medium. I had a good time with this all around.

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  3. Lively, fun, happy, free - vivid colors! Thanks for the nod. (I will not say I told you so..i will not say i told you so..)

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    1. If you're an I-told-you-so guy then by all means make yourself happy. I went to the sites you mentioned. Good stuff there. I thought your post and your words were most thoughtful and germane to my current feelings of defeat with regards to watercolors. This book I was fortunate enough to pick up a couple of years ago by Linda Kemp reinforced what I read at your place. The full title is: Watercolor, painting outside the lines, "a positive approach to negative painting." The artist/writer has a lot more control in her work and focuses on techniques--I haven't gotten there yet. I'm still in the freeing up stage, which is encouraged in the other book I really adore: A Passion for Watercolor, Painting The inner Experience by Stefan Draughon. It's this last book that stresses just react to your subject, which I did with albeit the negative spots, are where the feeling of the movement of the ride come in--I hope.

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  4. Sammy Davis Jr...Well, that's not a name one hears very often anymore..and he did say "gas" a lot! haha! I think your carousel painting is "sparkly"..you captured the motion, bright sunlight and carefree attitude. LOVE it

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    1. I don't know why his name popped into mind--I think I didn't want to use cool--it's too cool--neat is too cool too. Gas was what it was to my rat pack mind. The ride lifted me up and blew me back years in time to great memories. Again as Sammy said, "It was a trip. It was a blast." I do hope that ride wasn't my last. This effort may get framed a souvenir to make me smile as I walk by.

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  5. Hello, lovely the them: carousels - I found some in Paris and made photos. Your interpretation in water colours is beautiful!
    No, I do not believe you can rescue your relations hanging a padlock on the bridge - I think you do not find humor in my text, it was so absolutely ment to give people a little smile.
    But thank you for your nice words to me - have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. I immediately went back to your site Maria to explain why your words made me respond so seriously. For someone who has been very lucky in love without visiting that charming bridge in Paris, I was still under the cloud of worry I carried around this week waiting for my love to heal and come back the man I adore. I'm sorry if I threw cold water on your warm thoughts. The bridge is a sweet idea, I really do hope putting those padlocks on it locks up the romance for all the young lovers who believe it will.

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  6. Fantastic how you managed to give the idea of the carrousel rolling, beautiful rendering and wonderful and joyful colors.

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    1. Thanks Jane. I owe the impression of movement to the accidental placements of the white, negative forms (spaces). That's what I like about painting the inner experience with no pre drawn thought and just responding to the reference photo as it strikes you. This photo would make a good acrylic painting as well approaching it in the same manner.

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  7. Divided by a common language? I think not! OK, so you say Cotton Candy and we say Candy Floss ... which adds to it...however, we also call a Carousel a 'Merry-go-round' and I think this describes your picture exactly!
    "You say tomato and I say tomarto
    you say potato and I say ....."
    So that wasn't a Sammy Davis (Jnr)song ... but I think your "Merry-go-round" is a gas!!

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    1. Sammy Davis Jr. was a singer, a dancer, a member of the original, core "rat pack" along with Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop. After all this time, I have no idea why that word came to mind except cool and neat didn't describe how I was lifted up and blown away by the carousel ride. This was more than a merry-go-ride. It was built in 1928 and the antique horses and the decorative paintings, carvings, polished brass trimmings and Wurlitzer Band organ music just seemed to put it in a fancier word category than merry-go-round. Rat Pack adjectives and nouns of the sixties and seventies like blast gas and a real trip are so much better than cool. At least when you're saying tomato and I'm saying tomato, we're both spelling the same fruit :-))

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    2. I'm coming from so far back that Sammy was one of the newer fellas (Bing wise)and Dean Martin had yet to find booze!

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    3. According to Wikipedia, Sinatra and Martin were the original two, then Peter Lawford, Sammy and Joey. Shirley MacLain was the only gal mentioned that I knew was absolutely connected. She made one of her first movies with one of them--I'm guessing Frank--but I thought her first movie was The Trouble With Harry and I don't remember any of those guys being in it. I'm not coming from just around the corner either--but I was a kid and didn't pay much attention to any of it. Never was star-struck.

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  8. How wonderful to have ridden the carousel!!!

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    1. It was a trip back in time Kathryn. I loved it--except I was too big to stand up when the horse went up.LOL

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  9. I like it a lot Linda. And your post brought back so many childhood memories :-)

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    1. You should never lose the child in you Agnes. Your inner child is what makes life interesting and fun.

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    2. I couldn't agree more :-)

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  10. Your love of carousel's really show up in that painting Linda! Great clean, vibrant and fun colors. I really get a feeling for the moment though a young and fresh soul. Great job!

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    1. Thanks Michael. I felt what I felt when I was on the ride while I painted. This one might get framed and hung, a dear souvenir of a fun moment.

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