Firstly, a giclee print is basically a high quality fine-art digital print that has an interesting history. Graham Nash of the singing group, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, played a major role in its creation.
Graham was an avid photographer and collector of visual treasures. In the mid l980's Graham became interested in computers and began to scan and manipulate his photographic images on the computer screen. Graham could see the potential of using computer software to make digital prints of his work. ("Digital" means using numbers to represent something, which is what a computer does.) However, in those days photo labs hadn't figured out how to work from digital files to make a decent print.
Through his friends he made new connections in his search for a solution. There are important people who are intertwined in this process, but to keep it simple Iet's just mention a few. The search for a new way of image-making had been developing on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S. A printer called an IRIS had been developed by this time by a Boston-based company called IRIS Graphics. Steve Boulter, the West Coast sales rep made a big sale to The Walt Disney Company in Burbank. Boulter knew the color engineer, David Coons, who worked for Disney on the IRIS printer. Through his connections a meeting was arranged for Graham Nash to meet Coons who was helping Disney make the transition from traditional to digital animation. (Coons won an Academy Award in l992 for co-developing Disney's computer animation production system.) Soon Coons was printing Nash's images from the Iris printer onto thick D'Arches watercolor paper. Nash exhibited these prints, and his show was the world's first all-digitally printed, photographic fine art. He got rave reviews and later sold them at Sotheby's for $2.17 million.
Graham Nash soon bought an Iris printer and with his friends opened Nash Editions, which was the world's first all-digital printmaking studio..
"Meadow and Old Wagon" is an original watercolor painting. Artist, Patricia Hopkins would like to share some thoughts and feelings that were a part of its creation.
My cousin and I were on our way to go kayaking in Essex, Massachusetts. We passed some property which had belonged to a close friend of hers. In its heyday the family enjoyed beautiful views from the main house. Beyond their pastures were marshes and ocean with distant views of Hog Island. There were well-tended vegetable and flower gardens and a barn to house chicken, sheep, and horses. The wagon was a short distance from the barn.
The wagon was an enchanting sight, so we stopped and took some photographs. Apparently my cousin's friend used to put geraniums in the wagon in springtime, but now vines had taken over which added to its antiquity and charm. For me the scene evoked memories of bygone days.
The light played through the scene in an interesting way. In the foreground the grass and queen anne's lace were dappled with sunlight coming through the trees' canopy overhead. Then the wagon sat peacefully in an open area of bright sunlight, and behind in the woods there were streams of light coming through to the woods' floor.
The queen anne's lace was not in the original scene but was added to make the meadow more aesthetically pleasing and to help draw the viewer's eye into the painting.
A quick recap of my thoughts:
1. What an unusual and charming subject to paint.
2. The oldness of the wagon and the light in the scene were appealing.
3. A meadow must have Queen Anne's lace!
The image on the left is of artist, Patricia Hopkins' most recent watercolor painting, which is sold. So what is my process for getting inspiration for a painting? Well, it was late September years ago when, as I was passing by a hydrangea bush near my gallery, there was a sudden visual spark of colors that caught my interest. The area was somewhat hidden from direct sunlight, but the hydrangea blooms were in an amazing combination of colors. I rushed to get my camera and took 4 or 5 photos from different angles, all the while feeling awe and joy in having made such a beautiful find.
I often combine parts of my photos into a painting. The way the cool leaves went up to the right corner of light, which my camera caught for me in an abstract way, was a must for inclusion as was the back-lighting of the hydrangea and fern leaves in yellows and oranges.
The actual creation of this painting took several months. The drawing took the longest, but for me it is an important part of the process in determining the success of the finished painting. I use a 2H lead pencil, kneaded eraser, and watercolor paper. I use D'arches 300 lb. cold-pressed paper. I tend to work very wet and a heavy paper doesn't buckle as much.
The second step is my color-mixing with a brush, water and pigment. Usually I use around 7 Winsor & Newton colors in various combinations. I like to do this before I start to paint so that I know I have exactly the colors I want, and I know they work well together. Also this process gives me time to experiment with the many possibilities of mixing different colors. I save the colors I like to a smaller piece of watercolor paper. Under each saved color I write what colors I used to make it. Then I begin to paint.
One color I especially enjoyed working with is the turquoise in the hydrangea petals. I used thalo blue
with a lot of water, as it is a very intense color and the water lightens or softens it. Thalo blue was also mixed with yellow to make a cool green for the leaves going up the right side of the paper and to make a nice balance with the hydrangeas on the left.
Quick Recap for "How to Find Inspiration for a Painting":
1. Whether indoors or outdoors, be visually receptive to the beauty around you. A subject for a painting will resonate with positive feelings inside you.
2. Have your camera ready to capture what is speaking to you visually.
3. Take a good number of photos, because you may want to include some of one, a bit of another, and none of that one in your finished painting.