Watercolor, 15 x 22 inches
Begun as demonstration for making textures, this piece was brought to the studio to see if it could be trained into something interesting.
Concerns: 1. It must be a balanced and unified composition, 2. Thee should be a strong color harmony and, 3. It must have a sense of shallow space. These were the goals I set out to accomplish . . .with nothing from which to copy. Abstracts, or non objective paintings, are challenging to the artist because there is no model to follow. Everything that happens to the painting must come as a result of careful thought to ensure that every mark fits into the context of all the other marks already made. That statement also goes for ANY painting of any subject.
As you can see, most all the colors in the painting are grayed down or ‘unsaturated’ in order that there be a clear sense of fitting with all the other colors in the painting . . .save for the area called the center of interest. Similarly, the shapes must follow the pattern or character of all the other shapes in the painting, in this case geometric, flat shapes. Had I put in a curvilinear shape among all the other geometric shapes, it may have stuck out, or seemed as though it did not belong. As with all paintings, we attack the project with high hopes of success, but move forward with the sort of abandon as though we don’t care. Some would call this attitude one of courage.
My mantra with all paintings in progress is this: It’s only a piece of paper !!
As long as I remind myself that no one is going to get hurt, if I mess up, and that it is, indeed, only a piece of paper, then I can dream up just about anything I want to do without worry of bad result.
I pull out a spray bottle full of dark sepia paint . . . . I step up to the painting table, spray bottle in hand, wondering; how dark is it? What if it splatters? What if the sprayer drips? My answer to all of these questions is the same: We’ll see !! The fact is that the artist cannot expect great things to happen to the progress of a painting if fear will prevent him from doing some things. In short, as artists, we must be willing to fail. We must be open to allowing the unforeseen to show up and challenge us. We must open ourselves to being willing to repair if something “bad” happens.
This demonstration was to show class participants how to make various sorts of texture and how to use them. In the course of the demonstration, different marks were being made all over the paper . . . with each mark came the statement that “you cannot make a mistake!” That is to say that mistakes are not possible! A very wise artist once told me “If you make a mistake, repeat it several times in the painting. Then it won’t appear as a mistake!”
That brings up one last thing . . .the idea of repetition. This is something every artist must understand and how it affects unity in a painting. Just know this, repetition with variations makes for interest and helps hold the sum of the parts of the painting together as a single unit.