Monday, April 26, 2021

"Don't Rush In," She Said.

I have been working on a number of paintings using the same beginning. I mask off an abstract shape creating a "cruciform" configuration that creates a continuous white form that leaves a bit differently from each of the four sides of the watercolor paper. I am using full sheets, 22 inches by 30 inches, which allows great abandon with the painting of shapes and ideas. After posting a photo on facebook in the beginning of the last painting, a very good artist, Gale Webb, warned me not to "rush in." However, by the time I read her message, I had already finished the painting and it was too late to back up and let things ruminate. 

In the beginning of this piece, I have already designated 3 areas that will get a bird shape: one large at the top, two together creating a different shape and one smaller single bird. I really enjoyed the last painting in which I used these same haunting, foggy, neutral colors to begin with. but you can see it also can leave me with a huge "what next" question. 

*check out  my last post from April 15, 2021 to see the two previous paintings done in the same manner.

In the photo above, I have started a landscape, one that reflects what I see out our windows. Some trees are starting to leaf out, but they have been burned at the bottom and look like lollipops--long trunks with small round tops. Also in this photo is a piece of collage material I put over the painting to see if I'd like the soft yellow. As you will see, I decided that it was a nice accompaniment to the subtle neutrals.

And I was following Gale's advice, working on one idea and letting it settle before moving forward. In other words, this was not an impulsive piece. I did not paint it in one day. 

I began to really like the dreaminess of the piece as it developed. It is surely a combination of what I see and what I imagine. I was giving myself time to develop the backdrop before painting the "stars" of the piece. 

In the end, I imagined this as a moonlit dream, so the birds had to appear as silhouettes. And I also decided to leave quite a bit of white. 

What do you think? Did I make the right choices?

Dreaming of Birds
Watercolor and collage on paper
21" x 29"

Thursday, April 15, 2021

So Many Ways

I am so thankful for my blogging. I often use it to reference and remember my art journey, which is what I was looking for today. But as I searched back through the years, I was blessed with photos of my mom, grandkids when they were little, raft trips, parties, etc. But I was looking for . . .

April 2009. This was the year I took a workshop with John Salminen ( He is best known for his very detailed city scapes, but in this workshop, he taught an approach to abstract painting and this method stuck with me. This week I came up with 2 very different paintings using the same subject, egrets. For a while now I have been fascinated with their shape while flying and have painted them in several ways starting with realism.

Then I painted them quite realistic but in a made up strata design.

This week I started an abstract, putting 3 simplified bird figures into a pyramid composition and began the tried and true Salminen start.

Egret Shapes in an Abstracted Design

Here is the first photo I took after creating a cruciform shape that I blocked off with tape. The egret forms are still protected with film and tape at this point.

Here you see my addition of warmth with yellows and red. I am beginning to lift and paint squares and rectangles.

This is where I stepped back and decided on two things--I loved the art nouveau feel as it developed, so decided to do more, and I thought the yellow was a bit much.

Come Fly With Me
Watercolor on paper
21" x 29"

It took me a bit to determine I was done, but once I did, I wanted to challenge myself to something very different.

I decided to explore both shape and color using the same egret images. I rarely go for muted and neutral colors, so this was a challenge for me.

Going Neutral and Curvilinear 

I started the same way as I did in Come Fly with Me. I protected areas before applying grays, both with a brush and then with my mouth atomizer.

I did really like the painting at this point. It is foggy and mysterious. The story is there for the viewer to come up with, where Come Fly With Me is more of a visual adventure. This painting could certainly be interpreted as spiritual. But I didn't stop there, and would like to revisit how I finished it. You see the almost finished version below. 

Watercolor and Collage on Paper
21" x 29"

Before putting the painting under the weights for flattening and after taking this photo, I lifted some of the quinacridone gold off the rising egret. It seemed over the top to me, I was looking for warmth. I may try another version, leaving it more in the neutrals. After all, it's only paper!

Friday, April 2, 2021

More Art From the Ruins Part II

 I am guessing that the "art from the ruins" and "beauty from the burn" may never end for me. I have painted and drawn and combined the two. What next? Collage. During the time that the sculptures were being created, I was working at a table trying out some collage materials to capture some of the amazing colors and shapes created by the burned and broken pieces that once were our home.

Collage work is messy!

As I put these bits and pieces together on black gessoed paper, they started looking more and more like images from the cosmos--a universe unhinged perhaps.

I wonder what will come next.

Comments are welcomed!