Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Great Mentor and New Tools

In April I attended the Fran Larsen workshop sponsored by the Watercolor Society of Oregon. Fran did not teach techniques, which is perfect for someone like me. I've "seen that, done that"for years. What she gave me were words of wisdom that inspired me to be more exploratory regarding ideas, "Think of 10 different ways to paint that," and more adventurous when beginning a painting "What if?" So coming away from the workshop, I have begun to paint several topics from different points of view or in different ways.

I painted "Lightly Beaten #1" almost 2 years ago. Much of my work is now inspired by women and children's issues. And an article I read in the newspaper sparked this idea.

I was not satisfied with this painting, even though painting the decorative mosque took a lot of time. I later used it as a practice piece for applying gold leaf. (That is probably never going to be my thing.)

But I still liked the idea driving the painting, so I took it along to Fran's workshop, where she inspired me with "What if?"

What if I neutralized most of the painting, leaving the running child in color? What if one of the women seated outside of the mosque was also in color? Would that help tell a story?

I had painted this in a workshop, working fast to make the most use of my time with Fran--meaning letting many "What if's" come my way.

But now in my own studio, I continued to work with this idea. This time going more toward my current goals: simplify more, use patterns, paint flat. So here is the process I used to create the next painting from one idea.

I started out with two neutral, flatly painted colors. I protected the women, archway and child with two new tools.

Oramask stencil film #13 is much easier to work with than contact paper and it can be reused. It is pretty leak proof if you burnish down the edges. (thanks Geoff McCormack)

And a student (Mary Holt) in one of my workshops introduced my to Nichiban tape, another great product for protecting.

I lifted the windows, pillars and the outer arch using plastic protection and a good, clean, well wrung out , natural sponge. 

I made some stamps/stencils to add a different element to the piece, including some language--my apologies to anyone who reads Urdu.

With this I began to add my pattern making. Then added the darks.

Creating the figures in the doorway was a bit challenging--lifting, but not too much. I wanted to give them a mysteriousness. 

Finally it was time to put in the color. 

Simplify more--Check 
Use patterns--Check 
Paint flat--Check

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Linda Rothchild Ollis said...

Thanks so much for sharing your process and how Fran Larsen inspired you.

LELowe said...

You are so generous, Margaret, to share your process. Inspiring to say the least. Who knew "flat" could express so much emotion? Amazing.