On the roll with the washes! I created one more and used saran wrap for some texture. My plan was to use the same purple flowers as a start for a second attempt at negative painting. I also wanted to test again the watercolor ground, so I gesso-ed the page, then applied the ground. I have Daniel Smith Transparent Watercolor Ground.
No idea what went wrong, but the watercolor would not stick to the paper. It was as if I primed the page with a resist. I switched to acrylics and decided to use them diluted with water and I wanted to try one day.
Acrylics do not lighten when dried but I was not able to obtain the brightness I was looking for. I was still under the impression of the hummingbird Jean showed here. In retrospect, the expectation was not realistic, given the colors I used for the base washes. This is my version of a hummingbird:
It was a worthwhile exercise nevertheless. Turns out the Fluid watercolor paper can take a fair amount of beating and this makes me happy. It can be a good replacement for the printmaking paper used in Vermont - it is not available in Canada.
Day 4 started with 5 min paintings on 9 x 12 pieces of drawing paper. The rules are simple: take out the tools, set the timer for 5 min and make marks for the whole duration. No cheating. Make a statement in 5 min. Easier said than done. Another exercise that pushes boundaries and limits of the comfort zone just notch farther. Here are my 5 min paintings;
I then selected elements from these pieces and worked with them in a different way. I chose to experiment with small marks and shapes that float on the page because this is the opposite of what I normally do. My go-to way is to have the shapes anchored to the edge of the paper. I made few small studies with this in mind.
The rest of the day was spent working on the in-progress pile - some 15 or so pieces.
On day 3, we worked on the prepared grounds, building layers of marks, shapes, collage and paint. Add 1 - 2 things to a piece, then move on to the next piece. Stop agonizing over each decision. Ask often "what if ...", then go with the flow. These were some of the mantras of the of the day. Works in progress:
And some close-ups:
Ever feeling stuck? Monkey wrench to the rescue! That means covering a part of the rebellious painting with color or collage and continue from there. The result of monkey-ing a piece is pushing it in a different direction where hopefully it will get solved. Here are three monkeyed pieces:
I continued the layering process from this new basis. To be continued ....
Day two was dedicated to the explorations of shape as design element. First assignment - composition with 5 different shapes (different size and technique). I gave myself two more constraints - same shape and same color. I wanted to see what kind of result I will get when most parameters are predefined.
Next, we created more grounds using paint shapes with hard and soft edges.
Next step - layering collage and paint. At the end of day 2, the grounds looked like this:
It was an eye opening day. I always strive to achieve the most varied textures and colors so it was especially challenging to use only flat, opaque colors. I never stopped to ponder the impact of a flat shape next to a textured one, of a hard edge vs a soft edge.
My workspace at the end of day 2.
In Vermont for a 5 day workshop with Jane Davies - Abstract improv.
The day started with painting to music - it was a blast. We then started with line explorations - thickness, material, technique, placement on paper. A simple element and yet so complex.
Prepared grounds - layering marks and paint to make a background for further layering. To be continued tomorrow.
This is a little known event, at least in Montreal. And yet, the quality of the instructors is top notch. The details about this year's event can be found here - definitely worth a look.
This year, I went for a full day workshop with Bob Burridge. A full day indeed - from 3:30AM till 9PM - driving, painting and then driving back.
I brought back 6 warm-ups, 3 unfinished collage paintings with the theme "Claustrophobia", a bag full of goodies from the store and many pearls of wisdom from Bob.
The warm-ups - 2 min speed sketching. We were given words as topics - kiss, claustrophobia, to gather, calm etc.
These are 3 paintings on the theme Claustrophobia - works in progress.
And finally the bounty:
I came back energized and looking forward to doing more painting. Bob shared a lot of usefule tips, but few things really hit home.