On a recent trip to Chicago, we walked past the famous “Cloud Gate” sculpture and watched some ice skaters zooming around the rink.  It was beautiful! I want to use that reference photo I took for my next piece.  I am imagining it very subdued, in shades of pink and gray.  It’s always fun to visualize what the end results will be and then actually see what happens.    

Sketched Out

Cloud Gate, or otherwise known as “The Bean” sits over looking the Millennium Hall building, with the skating rink set up in front.  

I’ve sketched out the bean and part of the building.  I’ll add people and other points of interest once I start painting.

The first thing will be a nice wash, very gentle.  I don’t want to go to the edge of the paper and I do want to use water splatter to create interesting texture.

Check back to see how this is going! 

First Wash

I like the pinkness of the wash, and the water splatters look interesting.  Once this is dry, I’ll decide if it needs to be darker and may apply a second wash.

This is a piece that I can see in my head, but need to figure out how to get that image onto the paper.

The Bean

For this piece, I’m starting at the top and working my way down.  I’ve used a Mr. Clean eraser to blend the upper left a bit so it’s not so drastic.  

The Bean is fun to do!  I will probably add a few more people, and I believe I need to add something to the lower right, as it looks a bit bare there.  Although, once I add people on the deck there, it won’t look too bad.  I’ll have to wait and see.

I’d like to add some ice skaters in the foreground, but need to decide how big to make them.  I may make them big as to add dimension to the painting, but again, I’m not sure yet. I really do like the muted pink of the background.  


Adding the tourists was fun, and makes the painting more interesting.  I’ve also added some fall trees. My thinking is to have a few skaters in the foreground, making them much larger due to the perspective.  I might have to sketch them in because I don’t feel comfortable doing them free hand with the watercolor.  

Almost Done!

I love seeing the progress on this one!  Decided to add some skaters in the foreground.  I’m hoping they don’t distract from the “Bean”, so I think I will paint them in subdued colors with just a pop here or there. What a difference it makes adding the building details!  I was going to add more interior details, but may just skip those so they don’t create too much going on in the piece. 


I have been asked how I create my Cookie Cutter paintings, so thought I would include the process here:  
Once I find a good combination of cookie cutter and image, I make a paper cutout of the cookie cutter, often enlarging it a bit, out of heavy construction paper.  I put a bit of tape on the back of the paper and stick it to my watercolor paper.  Then, I go around the construction paper with masking fluid (1).  Once the masking fluid is dry, I sketch the image inside the cookie cutter shape. With the masking fluid still on I start to paint, usually putting down a light wash so I will know where the outline of the cookie cutter is (2).  Once I know I’ll be able to see where the outline is, I remove the masking fluid and them complete the painting (3).