This may look like quite a mess, but in Mary Ann Beckwith,s workshop we learned a method of taking this start to an abstract finish.
Step one was to stamp and texture the piece with everything from rolling paint over a garlic bag to laying down a string of beads and spraying over it. There is no right or wrong to this step. This needs to be completely dry before working on it.
Step two is choosing an abstract design. I used a method also taught by Mary Ann which involved cutting a small window (2" x 3" inch or so) out of white paper. Next we looked for a piece of interest from a magazine, or a combination of several pieces to create a small abstract to inspire the large painting. By placing clear tape over the whole piece, the combined design holds together. (Most of this small design was from an ad for a power tool.)
The next step is to paint over the stamped piece of watercolor paper following the design created in the little window. Surprisingly, the underpainting shows through. This process also takes the patience of letting the first layers dry and painting over the new design 2 or 3 times. Each layer adds depth and richness. And, yes, the stamping keeps coming through.
The final step is the most fun for a painter like me--adding the caligraphic marks, stamping on the top of the piece, and other mark making. See the finished painting below. I've titled it "Elephant Trunks," can you see why?