Without a doubt, “California Girl” is the most ambitious watercolor project I’ve undertaken to date. It’s also a painting with a very special meaning for me. This “California Girl” is our daughter, Liz.
Several years ago, she met and married a man from San Diego. After their marriage, they lived in Missouri, but last year, as autumn approached, they agreed they didn’t want to go through another frigid Midwestern winter. So, they packed up and headed for sunny southern California. I know she misses her family, but I also know she’s happy where she is.
Recently she sent us a video clip of her strolling along the beach. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to paint this image of her with her sunglasses, hat, and her long hair loose in the breeze. I loved the colors.
The images of her on the beach seemed to capture her true spirit. Even though she was born and raised in the Midwest, I think she’s probably always been a “California Girl” at heart.
This is the first of several watercolors I hope to make from scenes in the video she sent. I’m planning to give this to her as a little surprise.
LOL…forget the “surprise” part. I wanted to save a copy on my computer so I would have it for this blog post. So I sent it to myself via Facebook. I was sure my privacy was set for “Only me”. Nope. It wasn’t. A notification message quickly popped up from Liz saying, “Mom, is this me?”
She agreed to act surprised when she gets the picture. Hey, I tried!
It was a fun challenge for me, and as always, I learned a lot while doing this painting. I’m not satisfied with the sunglasses…I tried to get a “transparent” look, but it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped. The “shadowed” ribs on the hat came out far too orange, and while I tried using a “stippling technique” to suggest the weave of the hat, the effect was somewhat diminished after the paint dried.
On a positive note, I do like the pale blue sky and the sand in the background. The shadow on her face from the floppy hat looks good, and I got the colors of the zig-zag brown and white scarf about right as they fade in the sunlight at her shoulder.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to keep on painting. Watercolor is tricky, but I’m learning. I’m enjoying it, too, and “California Girl” will soon be on the way to San Diego.