Wednesday, January 9, 2019

All I Need

All I Need, w/c, 3" x 4"
The fourth in my 30 Non-Objective Paintings in January 2019. This one took on a life of its own, in a way. I liked that but it was a little more challenging.

I began with the large peach wash from the top, dropping in the opera pink in the middle left area. As I dripped water into the paint, these lovely blooms grew up, forming delicate edges and lacy interactions. I injected some pale yellow-green into the bloom and stopped, loving the color interactions there.

The choice to use the viridian greens was intuitive and a little risky. Inspired by the photo, I designed the shapes and values of those strokes carefully, then stopped to let them dry, fully intending to put in more small details.

However, once the paint dried, I hesitated, wanting to go on but not confident that anything I added would improve the painting. It seemed complete, despite my inclination to do more. For once, I simply decided to let the painting win. That hesitation became determination not to overdo.

I like the white interstices that occurred between the paint in the initial layer, which I respected as I added the viridian strokes. I think the shapes do a good job of guiding your eye without pushing you around too much. They achieve an odd balance with the rest of the painting that, combined with the color contrasts, is satisfying.

Torn Apart

Torn Apart, w/c, 3" x 4"
This is the third of my 30 Non-Objective Paintings in January 2019. 

I use photographs to inspire me, but I don't try to depict anything from the photo. No, I won't share or discuss with you the inspiration, which wold no doubt slant your vision. Instead, I'd like to know what it is you see here.

Although I try not to represent things in the painting, you will bring to the table a vision of what it looks like to you. That's a natural response, one that is much desired and needed. Your brain is designed to do that, so don't fight it. However, since there are no things present, if your thoughts merge from one place or thing into another, go with that and see where it leads you.

That's one of the beautiful things about successful non-objective paintings.

What particularly pleases me in this painting is the palette of colors, which pairs delicate "baby" colors with bold contrasting values. I enjoy the suggested details that create a vague triangle in the composition, too.


Give Way

Give Way, w/c, 3" x 4"
This was the second of  30 Non-Objective Paintings in January 2019.

The merging of yellow-green into deep turquoise blue was the initial thrill that launched this painting. I loved the lower edge and decided not to touch it, but to move on.

Leaving that strip of white paper almost dividing the composition in two, I plunged into the earth tones, wanting a strong contrast of color, pattern, texture and strokes. I indulged my fancy for little lines and details there, which contrast nicely with the granulation texture of the turquoise paint in the top. The touches of green and turquoise in the interstices unites the two halves in a way that pleases me.

30 Non-Objective Paintings in January 2019--Lifted High

Lifted High, w/c, 3" x 4"

New year--new personal painting challenge!

During the quiet winter months I like to set up a project. I decided to do some abstractions this year, which I find particularly difficult. Push yourself, I thought, just go for it and see what happens. So I have begun my journey.

I consider non-objective paintings THE hardest kind to do well. This series is devoted to painting abstraction, but I don't want these paintings to simply be splashing paint around. I feel that a non-objective painting must use the elements of art, so I'm not just abandoning myself to the medium. Spontaneity, yes, but with a goal.

I have some inspirational photos that give me color harmonies to explore, and compositional choices, with form, line, shape, space, texture, pattern and value goals. As I began this painting, I freely admit to being nervous, tentative, and yes, I did comfort myself with some landscapeish shapes and colors. I guess I started on the low board, not the high dive, so to speak, but when one is learning to go in headfirst, anything is better than nothing.  As a non-objective painting, it's not a total belly flop, at least.

The image pleases me. I like the way the shape encompasses high and low, top and bottom, leading your eye around the composition. And as I painted it, I kept telling myself to use beautiful color, which worked particularly well.

"Lifted High"
30 Non-Objective Paintings in January
Watercolor, 3" x 4", Arches 300 lb c/p

Thursday, October 18, 2018

August to October Update

I've done a good bit of painting this fall. I finally purchased some professional grade watercolor paint, a 24-color set of Mission Mijello Gold, and a few tubes of Qor, and Winsor Newton colors, as well as a full set of Daniel Smith dot cards. Huge differences result from having excellent materials.

All of these are 2.5" x 3.5" in size. 


gouache

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Friday, June 29, 2018

May-June Update: flowers and square landscape paintings

Since it's become far too obvious that I'm not blogging regularly anymore, I'll just make it official and declare that once in a while I'll do a painting update. here's a compendium since I last posted in April.

I was longing to plant my little patio garden, but the date of last freeze here in Albuquerque is May 20, so I decided to scratch the itch by doing some flower paintings. While I waited I painted.

3"x 3" gouache

I've been longing to learn a little more about painting with transparent watercolors. I've been acquainted with Maggie Latham since the old WetCanvas days, back in about 2004, and reconnected with her on Facebook more recently. We even traded ATCs last year, which is a sad story, as it turned out that two paintings she sent me never arrived. (I hate to think some unscrupulous person received them, and still harbor a small hope that they'll turn up one day, perhaps one of those times when something is found in a crevice in the Post Office 20 years later. <sigh> I know, unlikely.) She's so generous that she surprised me with other paintings of hers! Isn't this one lovely?

Maggie Latham 2017 ATC watercolor
Inspired by Maggie's beautiful watercolor washes, showcased in personal challenge she she did in April, painting 100 4"x4" watercolor seascapes, I realized I had a LOT to learn about how to use  transparent watercolor effectively. All of her "little gems" were done with multiple colors, as she skillfully let the paint do what it does, not trying to over-control it. 

I needed a subject to play with, however. I bet you can see where I'm going with this. Flowers, of course! Have you seen the work of Jean Haines? I mean, she's world famous for her very loose, wonderfully washy watercolors. I loved looking at her floral paintings and derived a lot of inspiration from her work, as you'll see here.

The paintings below are small, so I've posted them with a white mat to keep the scale closer to the original. 
Daisies, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor


Poppies, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Glories, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Looking Up, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor



Blue and White, 6" x 2.5" watercolor

After Jean Haines, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Glads, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Hollyhocks, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Pink Rose, 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor

Mini rose, 1' x 1.25" watercolor

And these are a fun series I did, returning to gouache, all 3"x3" on different watercolor papers,


















So that's it for May and June. Hope you enjoy looking at them!