"Tournasol Space"
watercolor on paper, 30" x 22"

The nice thing about painting outdoors is that the images of what I paint is sometimes burned into my memory. I find that if the location had a lot to offer in a spectacular sense, new images begin processing themselves in my head. Unknowingly, I memorize much of the character of the place after staring at it and painting for three or four hours.

My stint at the edge sunflower field near the farmhouse where I stayed in France was no different. Also, the vision of the different shaped fields, all tilted and undulating into the distance, was something I just could not shake. At my desk at work, I found myself sketching as I was on the phone. Before I knew it, I had the elements of two or three interesting paintings . . . .each offering different challenges.

The challenge in this piece was to not allow myself to become tight and edgy. In watercolor, looseness can be fascinating, particularly when an image is represented well without actually stating it. I find that more of a feeling occurs when that is accomplished; Thus, the goal of avoiding a tight rendering. Also, green can become very tiresome in a painting, especially if it is large like this one. I had to resort to blues and violets to bring about the sense of greenery here. Those colors set off the yellows and occasional orange, obviously.

Gradations of intensity and textures play a large role in this piece to bring about the feeling of space.

As for the execution, big, really big, brushes were used to saturate the whole page with initial color while the vertical paper gave gravity permission to do the painting. Then, mark after mark with progressively smaller brushes, ‘things’ began to appear in the paint without painfully executed edges . . . .just suggestions. Gradually, over three to four days, the painting developed with a lot of time and consideration between applications of paint.


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