“Experiments” series cont..2

Hi everybody, here’s another piece from the “Experiments” series:
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In this piece I used an old watercolour snippet of a face I had lying around. I adhered it to canvas and used pouring medium over it:
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After the pouring medium encased the watercolour, I used micaceous iron oxide to “shade” around the watercolour to “frame” it like a vignette along with some magenta. The magenta is then used to obscure the eyes, accentuate lips and define the outline of the head. More layers of pouring medium is applied on top with various shades of teal that remind me of bronze patina. Finally, striations of gold and silver are added to breakup the image:
imageThe black bits are fragments of micaceous iron oxide.

The piece is interesting to me because of the colour combinations and patterns. Also, the juxtaposition of the traditional-figurative against abstract motifs. The traditional elemet is a watercolour of a woman’s head, the fluid application of the magenta versus the abstract elements of rectilinear metallic lines, and even the gloss of the medium itself.

Here’s a side shot:
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I’m learning quite a bit about what this pouring medium can do. And I’m finding that it is really versatile.

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Watercolour and summer

I wanted to post some summery images to offset the grim events of the fires and to cheer myself up. To me, summer is about sun and sea, and watercolours are great for light and colourful paintings. In this case, a small starfish painting on a piece of rag watercolour paper:

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The watercolour is decorated with white acrylic inks by Daler-Rowney, FW inks. They are very nice quality inks applied with a dip pen (the kind with holder and nib). I think I would have liked the nib to be finer in this case.

The decorated aquatic specimens are my way of celebrating and appreciating nature by observation and adornment.

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Watercolour fish

It’s summertime where I am. And it’s been hot!

For me, the seasons and temperatures do influence what kind of materials and images I tend to work on. Below is a watercolour of a fish accented with black and white designs in ink:

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It looks light and reminds me of Batik prints. I did a series of simple watercolours like this on small pieces of rag watercolour paper.

Sometimes it’s good to make some light-hearted art.

And Happy Canada Day to us Canadians!

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Watercolour face on mat board

You know I like to experiment.

One day, I had some rag mat and wondered how watercolour would look on it. So I painted a face and whatever else came to me. Below is the result:

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The effect was interesting and watercolour on mat board will work for limited techniques, but had its limits. For example, there’s not much room for scrubbing: the cotton fibres kind of pill up. But if you wanted to do a quick painting, it’s perfectly fine. It doesn’t take heavy washes and it’s not suitable for too much wet-on-wet since there is no sizing on the board.

I like to experiment and explore art medium in different ways. Do you like to experiment?

Wishing everyone an enjoyable weekend. 🌾

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Abstract watercolour: When I was a Child

Oftentimes, I feel downtrodden by life. I crave the innocent wonder and natural acceptance of the world I felt when I was a child. I don’t think I would be amiss to say everyone treasures those feelings they had in childhood.

In art and life, I sometimes strive to achieve ‘the beginner’s mind’ or to see things with fresh eyes. This was the goal for my piece ‘When I was a Child:

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I started this watercolour with the motivation of the feelings I just talked about. I wanted to express a carefree, playful and innocent feeling, but there is another element in the painting as well. There are opposing rectilinear symbols that look foreign to a child’s mind; much like how the world would seem from a child’s eyes. But even these foreign elements of the adult world coexist naturally in the child’s world.

The child’s world reflected through the painting is colourful and vibrant with fluididity and movement. Transparent colours intermingle and the cryptic incised symbols are just there. I guess my metaphor of this piece would be: to be fully engaged with wonder, curiosity and beauty in life despite the unknowns and uncertainties.

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Cityscape watercolour

Where I live, I’m starting to see glimpses of summer.

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Above is an abstract watercolour I did a while back. Using loose, flat and fairly dry brushstrokes, I painted a rough cityscape. It reminds me of hot days in the city when the heat and haze just radiates off of skyscrapers.

Although I don’t live in such a city anymore, and summers are wonderfully moderate where I live now, I can still remember when it was red-hot!

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Needle-felted goldfish: fish out of water

Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. Do you ever feel like that?
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This is a needle-felted goldfish I did for fun. I like the look on its face because it looks the way I feel sometimes. Underneath the fish, is a cropping of a watercolour piece that is used in my blog header.

I’ve got so many things going on personally and artistically. This blog and connecting with people in a public manner is new for me. I don’t know which issue I should tackle first or which direction I should take. In the past when I felt overwhelmed, I would break things down to bite-sized pieces. I am attempting to do just that while writing this post:

  • I feel torn between different art media, because time is short
  • I feel inadequate in developing a larger audience
  • I feel I need more space to work, but do not want to encroach on house space
  • I feel I should be making things to sell, but now I’m immersed in honing my art skills
  • I always feel overwhelmed by housework that needs to be kept in check or I will have an instant sty
  • I feel I need to be present for my family instead of always thinking about art

I think I have to evaluate these things. Suggestions and advice are welcome.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

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Watercolour feather

I thought it would be fitting, since my last post was about natural specimens, that I would add a specimen of my own. I really enjoy looking at nature closely (except for bugs, of which I have a phobia) and admiring the its beauty. Oftentimes, even the mundane things when looked at closely are incredible.

Below is a watercolour of a feather I did a while ago. It is on lovely handmade Twinrocker 140lb watercolour paper. As you can see it has deckled edges all around. I’m a sucker for deckled edges, although this one undulates a little too much for my liking but, I don’t want to nitpick.

I love the contrasting hues of the turquoise and burnt orange, the hard edges, the soft colours that bleed into each other and the fine down that gives it more definition. I’m sure there are a myriad of colour combinations of feathers in nature that no one has even thought of.

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Watercolour face from a while back

My recent look at Karl Martens’ watercolour birds reminded me how much I love watercolours. I love his way of painting with calligraphy brushes and his ‘meditative’ approach. The loose, gestural rendering of the body of the birds contrasted by the tight and focused facial expressions is wonderful. So I started to look at some old watercolours I did a while back.

The one below was done on rough 140lb handmade paper. I think the paint was Daniel Smith but I do use my own palette made up of Daniel Smith, M. Graham, Schmincke and Sennelier. There’s quite a bit of granulation and lots of paper texture coming through. I do like the luminosity of the eyes:

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