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Vision Bear

Imagine your out camping with your family and friends. Your sitting around a campfire enjoying the night, all is quiet and relaxed. But it's black out - past the glow of your fire you can't see a thing out there.

The dogs are the first to notice, they start barking and you look up from the fire and stare out into the black to see a huge shape emerge momentarily from the blackness - a bear.

Out of the Blackness...

This was my experience last summer - the bear was ambling along his regular route which happened to border our campsite. He decided the dogs were too loud for his peaceful night walk and left quickly, not really a threat, but the vision of him emerging from the dark stuck with me so when I saw this picture of a black bear emerging from the dark by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash I set out to paint my vision.

It turns out this was much bigger a task than I expected, the glow of his nose and golden hairs calls for a gentle touch of paint to allow the white from the paper, yet the rest - how to show a bear emerging... and from what? Not from black as watercolour isn't the medium that allows for solid black in the background.


Out of the Paint...

I have this idea of the bear emerging from the surrounding paint. And I am now on my third attempt to get my idea onto paper. I began with masking some of the light areas, and then allowing paints to flow over the bear. But in the end the light areas still became too dark so I lightened them the only way I could - with iridescent paint. And while it has some interesting elements, this was not my vision bear.

If you don't at first succeed...

So back to the blank white page, and give it another go. This time I tried to focus on making sure that the glow of his eyes and golden snout were allowed to remain while the paint spread. More masking fluid and more layers.

I decided to try to video some of my painting process - turns out that taking the video by hand while painting is not the best option! But here ya go anyways :)


It was going well until I removed the masking fluid and tried to soften in the hard lines, and then the glow faded and I added white trying to bring back the lightness. I don't mind this bear, I cropped the page to make him more present in the image, and his eyes do indeed glow. I would consider this a more impressionistic image, relying heavily on small brush strokes at the end to finish the image. But again, he's not my vision bear.


The definition of insanity...

What do they always say? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results isn't sane.

So masking out parts of the bear was not working for me. Thus the drip method of painting allowing gravity to guide the paint down was not going to be my solution. But paint moves where water is, so I tried something new and found that the bear started to appear - from the middle of my watercolour mess. He's not done but it's an exciting moment in this journey. Here is my vision bear in progress - attempt 3.

He emerges...


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grandmacazes
grandmacazes
Feb 26, 2023

You've done well. Like the journey that it took, too.


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grandmacazes
grandmacazes
Feb 21, 2023

Intersting to see your progress on this bear. I remember the experience of camping and the bear's intrusion so close by, and the dogs barking. And Trent shouting with his arms raised to make himself look as big and as tall as possible! Looking forward to seeing your fnal version of your vision.


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