Laurin McCracken | Six Reasons, Watercolor

This is the first in a series where I will be capturing images of the toys I enjoyed as a child in the same style of realism that I use in my “Dutch” still life paintings. I hope you will appreciate both the realism and the nostalgia in this painting.

While nostalgia played a big part in my selecting the subject matter for this painting, it was more about answering the question – Can my style of realism be successful applied to other subjects than silver and crystal?

While assembling the still life I got involved in the story I could tell my audience. After I found the iconic image of Red Ryder, I was intrigued by the comment in the “speech bubble”, “Hold on! Here are Six Reasons you’re going to listen to me!” The five cowboys made a better composition than six, therefore I thought that might cause my viewer to think what are the Six Reasons and that would lead the viewer back to the six bullets in the “six shooter.”

At first glance, the painting looks very different from what people have come to expect from me. The primary reason is not just the subject matter, it is also the range of colors in the painting. My silver and crystal pieces tend to be more monochromatic.

This one is full of color. It is full of greens that I don’t normally use. When I usually paint greens, I am painting leaves and flowers and like to mix my greens since the colors change as they move across the leaf or petal. In this painting, I am reproducing mechanically produced colors. They change with the shadows and reflections of other colors, and therefore proved very difficult to mix. I turned to my DANIEL SMITH palette and found I could use the following greens to much success: Permanent Green Light, Cascade Green, Phthalo Green (BS) and Phthalo Yellow Green.

The reds also proved to be a challenge. There is a wide range of reds in the subject matter and they vary a lot as the light changes across the still life. I used a wide range of DANIEL SMITH reds and used Neutral Tint to help solve the matter of dealing with the shadows. The reds I used were: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Medium Hue, Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Red Scarlet Hue, Perylene Red and Permanent Red Deep.

The range of colors available in DANIEL SMITH watercolors was a big help in getting the colors right.

I did not think it appropriate to sign my name across the bottom of the painting. I hope you will enjoy finding where I placed it.

Laurin McCracken, AWS NWS WHS