Watercolor Process – The Birth

“Iron Dragon” from the Reef Series

People often ask how I create my watercolors. Next time I perform this process I will make a video but here is a description in the meantime.

I cover the floor with as many pieces of high quality watercolor paper that I have room for. I thoroughly wet the paper(s) with water by either using a spray bottle or large 4″ brush. This wetting is a throwback to a time when I soaked paper for printmaking. Next, I mix the colors I that feel or look good to me at the time. No planning, but I do select color based on how I am feeling at the time. I use the tools at hand, literally my own hands work the large washes along with huge mop brushes, but there are fingerprints, and a sleeve dragged (possibly) through the work during the original throwdown of paint onto paper. The brush does a loose dance and my fingertips direct the magic. I allow the wind, sand, bark or other fragments of the life from Gaia come into the work. Mother Earth has her hand in the painting as she allows a leaf to settle or insect to walk across the paper. Often I find objects or materials to use as resists. Some resists are added supplies from the kitchen–often an experiment and sometimes products that I have used before. Salt is a common additive, but oats might be chosen instead.

I allow the paint to pool in deep rich colors or pale watery shades. Then I leave. I rest and let my creations solidify. Usually, I sleep and dream about what is brewing on the paper, my dreams are strongly connected to the work at hand. I have contemplated how much my dreams direct the paint but it is speculation. My imagination though is given wings to soar from the dreams which in turn helps the creation move further along. Sometimes, at a point of partial drying I check back and add more pigments, squeezing the drops out of the brush and allowing them to fall, gravity does the work. Although I often work in series, every piece has its own method, its own manner of coming into being even though they are pointed simultaneously. They are living creatures that continue to thrive under my guidance. It is an intuitive process. I feel connected to the work and allow the paintings to emerge–letting the melange of images come forward and speak out. But its only the beginning. They need time, to flower, to open: to be interpreted further. After all the paintings are dry they are stacked and weighed to keep them flat until I am ready to proceed with adding ink. In Part 2 I will discuss the next layer – Inkwork.

Blue Ribbon

Blue Ribbon – 11″ x 15″ – watercolor and ink.

Image

The linework in this is extra fine and detailed and more based on geometric forms and less on natural or organic forms usually found in my paintings. The soft blue and grey background with earthy oranges and the red central place from where the drawing emits the Blue Ribbon that is surrounded by shapes consisting of fine lines. I look at it and wonder about the origin of the form, of life in general, the sea and sky, the universe. Blue Ribbon is among my top favorite pieces and prints are available.

On the Block

Latest work – watercolor with bronze acrylic. I started the ink work this week in my spare time. This piece was painted several weeks ago at the height of summer and after a few cool nights I am preferring autumnal shades already. This has an oceanic almost caribbean tropical feel. I am super excited to be working on it and have some nice ideas for the piece.Image

Written Edges

Dawn spent this morning in the company of my kaleidescope, turning, spinning, shaking, dipping and tipping it catch the light fragments, hearing the small pieces inside flit-flutter like little laboring beetles tracking their footprints inside. A tiny pleasure while spent in moments of solitude before the daylight completely unfolds and the dogs expect to be greeted with a big heart.

No painting today, this is a day of errands until the afternoon or evening when I can zone into my process of drawing and painting, working a 22 x30 watercolor right now on the table. Ready to unveil it soon.

 

Finding my tribe

I never knew what was missing, an imperceptible feeling of some little chink out of my metal, a small scaley plate-like chip was blown off like a shingle from a roof-top in the winter howling. Asking for resolution brought solutions and people and ideas then no people and the essence of the art changed as it happened. it all just evolved, adapted together but seeing the evidence of it as i was full of living and not noticing was the real challenge. all at once the concept was so evident at the forefront of my mind, I came to see that i just knew, knew the history, the future and everything in between. Almost like the Bene Gesserit women of Herbert’s Dune novel, they inherited the information from all those who came before them. My work  I feel//think embodies that often. All the abstract work of the people that are my tribe exists in me, like all other parts of my mitochondrial DNA, it blasts through no matter what I do.