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Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Basket Maker", 27.5" X 20.5" fluid acrylic and watercolor

Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing
Basket Maker, 27.5" X 20.5", by April M. Rimpo
Basket Maker is a little special for me.  One reason this is so special is because this man was wearing traditional Guatemalan clothing that unfortunately not many of the men wear.  Many years of revolution in Guatemala have caused the men to migrate from traditional clothing to wearing clothes more like ours.  I assume this transition was to avoid damage to the clothing, but most men in Central Guatemala have not returned to wearing their traditional garments.  The women continue to wear the clothing of their clan, but not the men.  It was with pleasure that I could share this tradition. 

When I travel I take thousands of photographs of the area.  In fact I am so focused on the beauty of the area that I take few pictures of the people I am traveling with; something that I regret in hindsight.  I photographed the man making the basket but, like many of my painting source photos, I had no idea how to paint this subject at the time.  It was 4 years after taking the photo that I finally felt I had the skills I needed to accomplish the vision in my head.  I knew I wanted to keep him in front of the stone wall, but had to do some shifting and rearranging to make a better design.   The basket maker was in the shadow of the building so I also had to brighten the scene a little and reduce the shadow on his face.

Basket Maker
fluid acrylic and watercolor
27.5" X 20.5" image, matted in brushed silver frame

This painting is another in which I used a combination of fluid acrylic and watercolor.  Fluid acrylic was used first to create some textures in the background, especially in the rocks and door.  Once the acrylic was dry and not going to move, I used watercolor to create the blends of color in the rocks allowing the watercolor to flow and mix on the paper, something you just can't do with other media. I've included a couple photographs of the painting in progress for those interested in the techniques.
Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing   Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing  Basket Maker from Guatemala in traditional men's clothing
To see other work done by combining fluid acrylic and watercolor check this blog post


  1. Wow! Thanks so much for showing the step by step. That's so interesting. I love this painting too! It's so expressive and tells a great story. The colors all go together so beautifully too. I'm glad to hear that you keep reference photos around for a long time before you decide to use them. I sometimes look at all the pictures that I want to someday draw, and heave a big sigh, wondering if I'll ever get to them!

    1. I love having all the reference photos. To me it is great knowing I have a wealth of ideas and never have to worry about having enough material. When I finally realize I know how to paint one of the older subjects it is really exciting; I just can't wait to get started.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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