Because I have been caretaker for my daughter and her children for several months, I have not found much time to spend in my studio. I did, however, find a few brief stretches of time to work on this piece. (Please see the brief video below to view the process I am describing in words.)
- I began in early February with a drawing, then covering part of the paper with rice paper to create texture.
- Slowly, I added watercolor paint to the textured areas. It is always a wonderful surprise to see how the paint is absorbed, and how the colors adjust to this varied surface.
- I painted in the sandy beach and water with a transparent wash and added my (now signature) stack of rocks at the top of the painting--also transparent watercolor.
- Next, I began to add black shapes that would connect the top to the bottom, looking for geometric shapes to repeat and respond to the stack of shapes at the top. I used black construction paper to determine the size and shapes, then cut out corresponding painted and stamped collage material I had made with harmonic colors to the painting.
- After gluing on the collage pieces, I saw that the colors on the collaged shapes were not vivid enough, so I used acrylic paint to enhance the colors.
- Next I painted the top strata in dark green and black, while pushing the darks in the bottom strata.
- Once I had most of my abstract done, I started working on the herons. My thinking on this is that the more realistic creatures take a different approach, and the background needs to work on its own, without the figures.
- When the painting was mostly done, I took a number of studio sessions stepping back to carefully assess the values, movement, colors, etc. and make adjustments, mostly making the herons more powerful and bold.
- Finally the painting was ready for the "icing on the cake," some stamping on the top dark and the calligraphic work from top to bottom done with acrylic inks and paint using small bottles with a tiny outlet.
I have three questions you can weigh in on: Should the water layer have some texture (wave or ripple like calligraphy)? Does the vertical calligraphy need to be calmed down? What title would you give this piece?