By: Samuel Worley
Dimensions: 30"w x 20"h
Year Completed: 2001
Rush also available in same-size limited edition giclee prints on watercolor paper.
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I remember standing on the back of a hydrofoil catamaran, watching the engines throw jets of water 40 feet into our wake as we sped along the Puget Sound. The sun was just coming up and in its light, the plumes of water looked like billions of shimmering golden pearls while in the shadows, the rippling water was a deep, brilliant shade of blue.
And I thought then that I wanted to incorporate that moment into art.
"Rush" was among my first few nudes, along with "By the Falls" and "Alexia, Queen of the Vampires". I was still fairly new to watercolor painting and felt that I needed more practice in painting the female form. And as one of my old roommates would say, I became "a student of the female form", lol.
Anyway, I don't always talk about my process but I really wanted to capture the water as I saw it on the boat and also the colorful leaves as best as I could and since the light on a particular tree I had admired would continually change, I took home one of its small branches where I could produce a steady light source.
I often tell people that the reason I paint in watercolors is because of the amazing layers of color you can get with the medium. Like when you look at a leaf in the light, it may look orange, yellow or brown but often, it is a combination of several colors showing through to another. Even when painting people, with enough practice and skillful watercolor technique; you could paint in near photo-realism like the amazing watercolor artist Steve Hanks.
It is the layers of color and minute detail that lend realism to his work and as with Rush, (I don't want to toot my own horn here but), the detail is painstakingly well thought out.
Observe the close up image below:
In all of my paintings, every inch has two, three or even more colors layered over one another, adding depth and life. It's this glazing effect that I love about the medium. You see, with oil painting, one has to let the layer of color dry first before glazing over the top. The same goes with watercolor but the drying time is immensely quicker.
One of the things I like to do is mix white with another color and then use it to paint over darker colors. It gives it an opaque look and when used with care, it can come out pretty cool. Check out the close-up of her head. Can you guess where I used this technique?
When thinking up the landscape to put the model in, I thought immediately of the South West. In Arizona I had never seen waterfalls quite like this one. Perhaps during the monsoon seasons, though. Anyhow, it was the bright colors in the rocky landscape of Arizona that inspired the backdrop for Rush. There was no photograph involved.
The painting was released in 2001 in full-size 30" x 20" limited-edition giclees.