Tuesday, December 3, 2013

One Drawing Gives Birth to Several Paintings

When I sketched out this idea, I really didn't have an actual painting in mind. I didn't have a chosen pallet. What I loved was the placement of the herons low in the rectangle with the close-up of the one bird. That led me to a lot of creative license to come up with an abstract design in the upper area. I was mostly thinking shapes with some symbolic references to orbs in a sky, rocks, branches--things that a heron's eye has access to. Mostly I was trying to break up the rectangle into interesting shapes.

Once the sketch moved onto watercolor paper, I chose to use a full sheet, 30 x 22, because I wanted to work big. This felt like a big idea.

I surprised myself with my first interpretation of this pair of birds, which I wrote about in my last post. This painting really was a reaction rather than a planned out piece and I liked the dramatic effect of my first effort. As I studied it, I also saw some elements I wanted to change. So I painted a second version which included the addition of a third vertical element, adjusting the smaller heron to the right, and ramping up the colors. I used the same techniques with transparent watercolor, mouth atomizer, stamping, masking out areas, etc.

If Herons Dream, Watercolor, 30 x 22

Ancient Dreams, Watercolor, 30 x 22

I have to admit that a second painting so similar is never my favorite thing to do, but I really thought this one was worth the time and effort. The methods I used in creating both pieces were somewhat tedious and making a mistake was very hard to fix. Needless to say, I was ready to move on to a new project. But I wasn't done with the idea.

For the third painting, I moved on to painting with gouache (opaque watercolors) on a metallic gold gessoed piece of paper. (Gesso is a type of primer used on paper or canvas.) I was determined to just follow my instincts with this one and have fun creating patterns and stamping. This piece was much more relaxing to paint. I had no deadline or pressure to complete it. I just let my creative juices flow.
What do you think about these paintings? I'd love some feedback.

Winter Dream, Gouache, 30 x 22
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