Saturday, April 30, 2016

Make it with Gesso

Apple Branch, Watercolor on Gessoed Watercolor Paper, 15"x11", NFS
This painting was also created during my workshop with Mark Mehaffey. It was painted using watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper. The idea was to create an interim surface before attempting Yupo so this painting was actually done before the Yupo pieces I posted in the last several days. When doing this piece, I made the mistake of using staining pigments to create the background color. That means I didn't get a complete lift when I went in to create the shapes for the apple branch. I decided to use that to create "ghost" branches and leaves, then used gouache to pop the foreground elements. I think it worked pretty well.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Playing with Yupo #3

Untitled, Watercolor and Gouache on Yupo, 13"x20", NFS
Yet another piece from my workshop with Mark Mehaffey. Although unfinished, the objective in this painting is to use representational shapes along with the non-representational patterns and colors we started with. The method involves creating an overall pattern of shapes, stamping, patterns, and colors, then using gouache to define representational shapes - this works best if the shapes read as silhouettes. I started with three pears but decided I really didn't like two of them - I ended up with just one pear that I really like. Now I have to figure out how to finish it. I suspect the solution will jump out at me at some point - they say patience is a virtue.

One thing I did learn (it took a couple of repetitions to sink in) was to go one step at a time. I'm one of those people that plans 12 steps ahead. With a painting, that is a recipe for either a disaster or barring that, a boring painting. After every step, especially as you make changes to a mostly done painting, it is important to evaluate the effect of the change before making another one. Quite often, if I want to evaluate a change that will be irreversible, I will photograph the painting, print it out on card stock, and try out the changes on the print. That way I can try several different options to see which is the best before I apply paint to my work in progress.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Playing with Yupo #2

Untitled Abstract #2, Watercolor and Gouache on Yupo, 26"x20", NFS
Another piece from my workshop with Mark Mehaffey. This piece started out just as busy as the last one, but in this case, I decided to cover most of it up, creating a place to rest the eyes while allowing the boldness of the selected area to stand out. This technique was introduced to us after we had spent several days trying to find some way to tame the chaos we had created in our paintings. It's hard to see in this photo, but I used some watercolor crayons to add calligraphic lines around the large shape and the lower red rectangle. I immediately loved the power that this kind of composition projects - I plan to experiment heavily with this to see how best to use it in my work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Playing with Yupo #1

Untitled Abstract, Watercolor and Gouache on Yupo, 20"x26", NFS
I am just back from an extended trip to the southern states, one week of which was spent at the Kanuga Watermedia Workshops in Hendersonville, NC. I took a workshop with Mark Mehaffey which was amazing. I would definitely recommend him to anyone interested in learning to paint on Yupo, particularly if you are interested in experimenting with abstraction.

This is one of the paintings I made while at the workshop. We were experimenting with stamping and lifting watercolor paint and using gouache to add quiet and/or opaque passages to a painting. In this case, the result is very busy - basically everything you can put in is here.