Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two new paintings I did this weekend

It's an interesting thing, mood.  Often, after, I do something really tight or really graceful, I want to do something really raw.  Or if I do something really worked out I want to do something direct.

It's interesting what changes and what stays the same.

I've been doing a series of large watercolors, taped vertically rather than laying horizontally, and letting it drip a bit if it wants to.

The first one, I was really seeking fairly light colors and I started off with tints.  I brought the painting inside as I often did, pinned it to my wall and whenever I went into my bedroom did little refinements.  I guess I'd say it is tight, without being prissy, and fairly sweet and warm in its mood.
OK, now I sometimes like to play against type and force myself to do something I don't normally do, sort of wreck things for myself and sort them out again.  So, instead of using some transparency, and the reserve of the white paper (more or less, this is after all gouache and not traditional watercolor), I started out very dark, using a tube of Windsor and Newton black and throwing in violets and greens etc. I laid in some shapes with charcoal and had at it.

Now perhaps I should say, I never use black, and I never work from very dark to light, although I sometimes incorporate charcoal in my work.

Well at first it looked like nothing, but I started bringing in some cool and somewhat somber colors, dark greens, some purples and so forth (I don't usually do somber) accented by cadmium red.  The dark underpaint sort of pulled the color down a bit and added to mood, the colors were predominantly cool. And then, using a liberal amount of white (tinted a teensy bit with a gamboge yellow to warm it up), cut the negative space out and established the rhythm.  Boy it took a lot of white.  

Gouache always tends to pull in the color from the underlayer, so you have to account for that (that acrylic doesn't is one of the things I like to take advantage of with acrylic.) I've wrecked a lot of paintings where the underlayer is just not salvagable. Eventually, it started to come together, I kept it pretty loose, added a few brighter accents. I think that helped lighten the mood and keep a balance, the colors are a little more austere, so there is a lot of cream white and grey white around.  

Now if you compare this painting, I wonder if you will conclude I am bipolar, or perhaps, that even coming from this different direction, that the same themes keep coming back.  What do you think?

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