Monday, March 2, 2015

The Wonders of 300 lb. Arches

The result of many washes on 300 lb Arches
For awhile now, I've been exploring ways to create deep colors through layering highly pigmented water multiple times over multiple days. I loose count, but I think it takes 7 to 10 layers to get the depth of color I want.

In this last piece I used 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper because lighter weights have a lot of warping and buckling as I do so many very wet layers. Because I don't pre-wet and stretch my papers (too lazy and impatient) I decided to see what would happen with the stronger, thicker and tougher 300 lb paper.

As expected, the multiple layering of wet washes did not result in the buckling that occurred with lighter weight paper. There was an eventual curling of the two edges, but that didn't create the unpredictable pooling I'd dealt with using the 140 lb paper.

As the painting progressed into the rocks and sand, I got much too much paint on the sandy portion in the lower part of the painting. I had created a very consistently mid-value area which required scrubbing out (making the sand lighter) with my sponge. Not a problem with the 300 lb paper. Then I realized that I needed to add washes over the sandy area to get a unity with the teal blue water. I worried my scrubbing would have created too much pilling and nubbing of the paper, but no. New washes went on like a dream.

I then realized I needed to create life and light on the rocks. Again this paper really took the workout I gave it with my little scrubber brush. This painting is a juxtaposition of many layers to the top the fear of screwing it up by dripping or touching or lifting of the paint. Versus the lower portion with working  the paper over with all sorts of scrubbing and fixing and repainting, as I struggled to make the sand, rocks, skeleton and dead fish work.

(As you can see, I had a heck of a time getting the color of the water right. It is a deep teal blue and I don't think either of these photos show the color just right.)

I really don't think you can see all the scrubbing and lifting and changing I had to make to get this painting to a finish point I'm happy with. 

This painting is part of the series "Life Cycle Imperative." The painting is about the salmon spawning, dying and providing the necessary nutrition for the new life to come.

What do you think of Salmon Story: Beginning to End?


Unknown said...

great post and no, you can't see all the scrubbing etc. that went into it. I like the crispness of the eggs floating around.

Unknown said...

Always great to see and read about your latest and greatest hits.
Thank you for sharing your process.