above: tools - brushpens, gouache (sumi-e paints), pastels and mango juice for me
above: my favorite and most current painting - watercolors and gouache
sumi watercolors are not watercolors. they're actually a mostly opaque medium but their binder is with something pretty horrific like horse glue or something equally upsetting, but they happen to have incredibly vibrant color and an elegantly viscous brush feel. above: one of the many nearly exact same approach to the tree/shrub visual but after weeks - this one is - I believe - the start of getting it right for me
watercolors, pastels, gouache
the painting above came a few weeks ago and it was me giving me permission to let this crazy controlling thing go. I had been pushing a very constricted approach and it wasn't serving me. it WILL because it's something I love doing and it pops in and out - often without being particularly noticeable, but not in the way I was going at it, at the time.
the above is one progression of one painting I overworked over time. there were many tree/shrub ones that got really really overdone. I'm not sure if that was in a good way or not. won't know until I put it away for a few months.
I'm going to take a minute to quickly explain that watercolors traditionally are a fast but careful medium. you mask out white space, draw in parameters to guide you so your brush is sure and you avoid the bad farting around looking for your drawing and overworking the paper. the artist endeavors to control the medium while hoping for those miraculous surprises, which is a little too anal for me.
I like to get in there and do whatever I want to do once I understand my medium - meaning how it responds to me and the surface. all mediums should work for the artist and not vice versa. so, of course being partially wrong in trying to use the medium incorrectly, I was essentially driving myself nuts - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. but I was thinking too much. much of painting is about the impulse and the spirit, the lyrical - and that comes from a combination of method, result and how the artist feels about what they're seeing - is this close to what you're trying to say?
I use watercolors for their transparancy, but not necessarily to create the overall "watercolor" effect of layers and washes, etc. I love washes but I like to draw on top of them. I like to wet them and blot them and rub them away until the surface is sandy and then put something else on them. I have taken to getting in there with pastels. LOVING that. that feels like l I'm on to something. Hate the dust but love the overall dreaminess of it.
so this is how I'm spending my summer vacation. on my deck painting one tree and four shrubs with a few other trees plus this, which is the first time I've given myself poetry to think about while I work:
I had been painting sky, just sky and this came while something like this enveloped me -
holding her hand
to a sky
I see a big oil painting in that thought. and that makes me happy.