Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Teapot and a Fish

5" x 7" Watercolor on 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white hot press paper

This watercolor painting is based upon a photograph by Edwina Jill Mordasky, affectionately known by all those who love her in the online world (including me) as Winna. Her photo is here, and it so utterly captivated me that I immediately wanted to paint it. Winna graciously gave me permission.

Her photo is an object of beauty I think. Maybe it is all of those wonderful negative shapes, the brightness, the color that attracted me - but that would be trying to put a rational analysis to my innate reaction.

Thinking about it, maybe it is just the teapot and the fish. Possible reasons:

1. I drink tea. (But I don't fish.) But I eat fish.

2. Maybe it's a memory from my childhood, and Dr. Seuss:

"You SHOULD NOT be here
When our mother is not.
You get out of this house!"
Said the fish in the pot.

Then again, this is a wooden fish - it must be, right?

3. Maybe it is nostalgia. When my wife and I were engaged she was responsibly selecting items for the bridal registry - silverware, china. I insisted on only one thing, a foot-long wooden fish. My brother bought me that fish for my wedding.  He painted its lips bright red.  I was delighted.  Needless to say the fish was never displayed in my house.  That my wife could control.  The fishlips were wiped clean and it was at my in-laws for a while. I don't know what happened after that. Maybe it just swam away..

Enough analysis.

For a watercolorist, I am a closet oil painter I think. Watercolorists refer to "overworking", but often when I look at their work, I can't fathom what they mean. Other watercolorists brag that they use hundreds of layers and still keep things light. I've created a rather heavy look for a watercolor I guess.  I insist, though, that this piece is not overworked.  Underpaid, perhaps.

So thank you Winna, thank you fish. Thank you teapot in a dish.

OK, there is no dish.

So much for analysis.


  1. I really like this one, too! The teapot shines! I love the contrast between the metal and the wood. Beautiful photo, beautiful painting...

  2. This is certainly a different subject for you but I can see why you liked it, the richness of the colours make such a simple object beautiful.
    You've made a great job on the pot, capturing the reflections of light wonderfully. It does sound as if you have a fish 'thing' though!

  3. I LOVE the finish that you achieved on the teapot!! Not overworked - brilliant.

  4. Excellent collaboration Dan... Winna's photo and your painting... very nice both of them.. I'd really like to see the rest of that fish of Winna's wouldn't you?

  5. You painted that pot just beautifully!

  6. You did a great job here! Actually, I thought it WAS oils before finding out it was watercolor but hey, whatever works for you is what you should do. Frankly if I had to put down layer after layer to call a painting a watercolor, I'd go crazy or quit! The thing I love most about art is just how many ways there are to do it. Keep up the good work - your way!

  7. Underpaid, lol! (certainly, it is!) I love what you did with Winna's beautiful photo. I love the richness (is this a word?) and warmth of the tones. It's gorgeous!

  8. The colors and textures do it for me, in both the photo and the painting, they would be interesting to see hanging side by side, too.

  9. Your teapot is beautiful. My first thought was oil. the reflective surface of the teapot looks so layered. Love iy.

  10. Love the teapot reflects.
    Fantastic Dan!

  11. Nice work Dan! I must say I like how the teapot has a metallic finish, and a nice highlight to it.

  12. Very, very nice. LOL at a wooden fish with red lips!

  13. Great rendition of Winna's amazing photo. When you gave a link I had to go look at the photo because I could NOT imagine how there could be a photo like your painting but there it was! I also do watercolor and I think when they say it has been overworked they mean when you have tried to change it too much after putting down the original layers.
    Aloha, Kate

  14. It's beautiful. Metals successfully painted in watercolor are stunning.

  15. I always read your postings for your unique way of expressing what's going on in your world and for the humor you bring into play. Delightful.

    The painting of Winna's photo is stunning. The patina on the tea pot is magical, the whole thing speaks of a cozy lodge, roaring fire, a nice cuppa to cuddle up with.

  16. I'm with Joan--your postings are always worth reading. I come away smiling. And the painting is something special. Keep it up, please.

  17. Your painting is wonderful and (as a fellow Dr. Seuss lover) your analysis delightful!

  18. It's absolutely wonderful! The shine on that teapot is perfect. Now I want to go get all the Dr. Seuss books out of the attic and read them again :-)

  19. i love it. the colours, the textures, the shapes, the idea. all brilliant!

  20. This is one beautiful painting, Dan. I saw it Sunday morning just before I lost my connection and it looks even better tonight.

    I just wish you still had that fish with red lips--maybe you can paint it. It might make a nice anniversary gift.

  21. Lovely job of it! You might as well take out the oil paint and start!

  22. Hi Dan,
    Just moved house and the internet has just come on and the first thing I see is your post.
    Great painting.
    Mmmm...that's funny, there is a wooden fish still at the old house - going there tomorrow to pick up the last few things...I wonder if I could get away with sneaking it back to this house if I hide it in one of the
    Fantastic work mate!

  23. A BEAUTIFUL: teapot, fish, and poetic post. There is so much richness and drama! It's brilliant!

  24. Ellen Burkett says: Well sir, you may be on a completely new section of the artistic highway you speak of. This is not only wonderful, it's a completely new type of work. What you have shown, in the way of how well you saw what you were looking at and how well you showed it to us is beyond anything you've done before...not that there was anything wrong with what you showed us before. You have just driven yourself into a whole new territory. This is just fantastic and beautiful! Bravo, mi amigo!!!

  25. It is works like this that make me love watercolor. The layers and intensity of color are beautiful. It is just a delight for the eye. I hope you do more of these pieces because they inspire me!

  26. Thank you all so much! You encourage me to greater heights, for sure. As for creativity, I will leave the credit for this one with Winna - I'll give myself points for seeing the possibilities in a painting and pretty much pulling it off.

    Yes, Cathy, I have a fish thing. What can I say?

    Capt. Elaine - Yes, more fish! more fish!

    freebird - I toyed with oils and acrylics years ago. Now it seems like it would be cheating without all those layers. Not that I'd no what I'm doing, mind you.

    Robin - I've put them side by side on my computer screen. Winna wins.

    Melissa - Well, finally a mention of the Red Lips!

    Joan - Thank you. I thought long and hard before changing the background. I still have my doubts. But I believe that it may create the atmosphere you refer to.

    Kara and Ann - Dr. Seuss was a genius, absolutely.

    Halley - Great anniversary idea, Thanks!

    Stew - Do it!

    bettyfromtexas - Re that "Brilliant" quote. Tell me more.. :)

    Ellen - Thank you so very much - I love the way you put it, and I hope its true. Generally I think I am careening about, but each stop is interesting.

    Debra - You are so skilled, it means a lot to hear this.

    Beach Cat - I will. I can't stop!

  27. I drink tea and eat fish :) And if this is overworked, then so are Andrew Wyeth's drybrush paintings. It has a comfortable and home-y feeling about it, and it is good.

  28. Here's what I love about it: The wonderful values; the depth of the colors; the sheen on the teapot; and the composition. I also love the narrative, and I so wish you still had the fish with the red lips! nancy

  29. Gorgeous painting from a gorgeous photo!

  30. Wow, Dan! This one is gorgeous! I love everything about this one. And I can see why you were so drawn to it...wonderful reference photo from Winna! This one really stands of your best I think!

  31. It just occurred to me how much I learn from my online friends. You see, I just realized that I almost never do a complete painting, with background and everything. My sketchbooks are scattered objects, some painted, some not. Definitely no unity...well, at least very little. I should try to do more complete paintings, like this one.

  32. Dan, this is astoundingly delightful. And I simply love your blog, your writing style, your pungent observations of life, art, the world, yourself. You go, guy!