Watercolor 15 x 22 inches
Occasionally, one stumbles into a mood that prevents
anything serious from being played out in the studio . . . . .or anywhere
I am not sure if this is just a
spilling out of happiness . . . or a vacation from being too serious.
And I am still not sure of the source . . .
.but I know in my soul that it is important to take on that sort of mood while
operating a paint brush on occasion.
What do you
After all, isn’t learning
to paint a serious pursuit?
In fact, it is one of the most
serious forms of study that any sane person can take on.
But there must a be a time when us painters
must throw much of our inborn caution to the wind, take a big risk and paint
something in a manner not done before.
Putting paint down on a dry canvas or a dry piece of cotton paper is
about as commonplace as it can get.
Change that surface so that the paint does different stuff with the
paint than we are accustomed to trying to control . . . .that packs all sorts
of failure risks!!
Take a risk!!
What have you to lose?
If you are a watercolor painter, try this .
. . . . . with a big clean, water saturated sponge, wash down both sides of
your paper a minimum of three times . . .
.wiping with lots of water . . .
.until the paper gives up all of its native stiffness.
It should have the consistency of a saturated
Once done, place the paper on your board so that it is
perfectly in the place you would want in order to paint on it.
You may have to staple it down at some point, so be sure your paper is
on a board that will accept stationary staples.)
Lay out the saturated paper.
Roll up a terry cloth hand towel in a very
fold it lengthwise first, then roll from one
end of the long dimension.
firmly onto the paper roll the rolled up towel over the paper in order to take
up the majority of the water on the surface, in the fiber of the paper and
underneath the paper.
What will remain
is a piece of fairly damp paper with no shiny spots on the surface.
Use a flat, synthetic
watercolor brush to apply the paint when the time comes to make marks.
It won’t hold much water in its
You will want to have the
paper do most of the adding of water to the paint . . . . DO NOT saturate your
Now, go ahead and paint what ever subject you like.
Lots is going to happen that you don’t
expect . . . .
. . . . soft, even fuzzy edges . . . . intermingling of colors in places you
least want or expect . . . . values will significantly fade . . . .just about
everything you would normally fight, in order to hold onto control will happen.
Go ahead . . . . . paint on it . . . take chances . . . what
will happen if your brush is too wet?
What will happen as the paper begins to dry?
What if you make a mistake?
you wipe it up?
Can you lift?
Can you make a graded wash?
Can you give up control?
Well . . . . CAN YOU?
Here is the point: The
only way you will ever get to know your medium well enough to master it is to
challenge it (and yourself) in every way you can!! That’s right! You must test it and test yourself so often
that you get to the place where you can anticipate what it is going to do
before it happens.
By going on a mental “vacation” and opening yourself up to
courting absolute failure and letting happen what will happen, you will find
that it is actually fun!!
it is play!!
There’s more to goof around with than just the paper and how
dry it isn’t.
How about painting
everything in a painting (and I do mean everything) with a three inch flat
Or a big hake brush?
What if you confined yourself to just three
Or, what if you put ox gall in
What would happen?
Paint with your paper absolutely
Could you stand it?
Or could you put yourself into a frame of
mind to give it a go and let it do whatever it is going to do?
At some point in our painting life, we have to face every
sort of challenge.
The masters never
had much trouble with challenges because they actually practiced
every possible thing that could happen and practiced
how to handle the conditions
Just because “it’s hard” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tackle
Get into that lion’s cage and
tame the lion !!!
(You won’t die or
even get scratched!)