Deanna Williamson, Mushroom 1, 6" x 6", watercolor crayon, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Mushroom 1, 6″ x 6″, watercolor crayon, 2016

Recently I decided to try out some watercolor crayons I’d bought for my grandchildren.  I had in mind to use some bold colors and make a really bright and cheery mushroom. Mushroom 1 above is the result. It looks kind of like a child’s drawing which could be the result of making art with children – or – it could be the medium.

So for Mushroom 2 below, I tried using local color for a more natural look but I didn’t like the texture created by the watercolor crayons on the rough paper.

Deanna Williamson, Mushroom 2, 6" x 6", watercolor, 2016
Deanna Williamson, Mushroom 2, 6″ x 6″, watercolor, 2016

Both of these paintings were done from the same mushroom photo which I found on a copyright free site called Pixabay. I highly recommend it as a resource for images.


Deanna Williamson, "Sort of Likeness", 6"x 6", acrylic on canvas, 2016
Deanna Williamson, “Sort of Likeness”, 6″x 6″, acrylic on canvas, 2016

This portrait was an exercise in expressive color.  It was done from an old black and white photo which is good to work from if you want to experiment with color.

Expressive color is also known as arbitrary color.  It’s not meant to be realistic – which is local color – but colors are chosen for their emotional or aesthetic qualities.

The art movement in which expressive color first appeared in full force was Fauvism.  Artists of the time – late 19th and early 20th centuries – were already moving away from the Renaissance notion of painting realistic spacial depth. The Fauves (French for “wild beasts”) took it a step further and eliminated realistic color in favor of expressionistic color. Click here to see a famous portrait by the movement’s leader, Henri Matisse.