last week was one of exploration and change... way before my new books ('life, paint and passion' and 'creative illustration workshop') arrived on friday, i'd swerved in a different direction. it might have been that venetian horse a couple of posts back - standing there so all alone! i wanted to paint pieces that contained multiple images, that were more complex...
i had no idea if it would work with watercolors - would the first images that i laid down be washed away when i painted something on top of them? i found that i could add several washes and still see the first image. you can see this in the horse's head and body here... and i found out that i could lay down opaque color by not using much water and cover up stuff if i wanted to.
this is what my art table looked like yesterday - i've got just about every watercolor i own out! the set on the right is a yarka set - it has a gorgeous quinacridone violet!
so these are my experiments...
i let each layer dry and painted some more...
watercolor and collage on canson watercolor paper, 5" x 9"
when i first looked through 'life, paint and passion' i thought, "oh, i already do all of this stuff." but upon closer inspection (of both myself and the book) i realized that i don't. for one thing, how many times has it come to me to paint something, but i don't because i feel like i don't know how to paint it? pretty often. and how many times do images come to me but i leave them out because they look too scary/weird/childish? sometimes... yes, i already paint what comes to me, in the colors that pop into my head as i go, but it's what i'm leaving out that has the potential to change everything.
the piece above is the first piece i painted on saturday after a big dose of both books.
watercolor and chalk on st. armand watercolor paper, 3" x 5"
and this is the piece i finished last night. you can see it in the pic above of my art table. there's an owl sitting on a limb, which, believe me, i would not paint if i were painting from some preconceived image that i had in my head. my sense at that point was that the only thing that mattered was the magenta leaf at the end of the branch the owl was sitting on. so i painted a big magenta leaf (that quinacridone violet), and then i felt that a white charcoal bird (or part of one) needed to be on there somewhere. so i drew it...
one thing that you quickly realize when you look at katherine dunn's work ('creative illustration workshop'), is that she creates a lot of the dreaminess in her pieces with soft pastels. you start to think about using charcoal, graphite, and pastels a lot more...
i wholeheartedly recommend both books, even though i still haven't finished reading 'life, paint and passion'. there are no techniques in 'life, paint passion' because there are no techniques when it comes to painting what's inside of you. for me it's been helpful because it's shown me my blind spots. katherine's book is *chock full* of her gorgeous art, and she does a good job of explaining (and showing) her process.
'look both ways' ~ donna zagotta
all of this has got me thinking about gouache more than ever. after i read that maira kalman uses it in her work a couple of weeks ago, a light bulb went off. i've been reading and thinking about it ever since. the piece above is done by donna zagotta with gouache - click on her name to read about her process.
and yeah, i know i could use acrylics to get opaque color, but that doesn't fit with my quest to paint 'greener'.
onward... : )
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"To create is to recognize that real beauty is found only in the honest gesture, wherever it leads, and that no harmony can be found outside it."
~Michele Cassou, 'Life, Paint and Passion'