Thursday, October 13, 2005


Occasionally, my buddy Joe asks if I've been painting. I always feel sheepish saying that, No, I haven't. In truth, what I do isn't really painting. I'm too impatient to haul out tubes of paint, mix colors, stare at a canvas. When I took gouache painting (anything that involves a word that I have to check the spelling everytime I use it; too much work..), my instructor would say that you could layer the paint by diluting it with water, waiting until the last layer was dry, and then "...glaze..." on the next stroke. You could get great gradations this way, layering on paint, instead of just plain solid blocks of pigment. I'd think, "Wait until the last layer is dry? You're kidding, right?". Plus we had to mix our colors from the basic set that we had to work with. [sigh] Needless to say, the whole gouache thing didn't pan out so well (let's just say it's not something I kept up with).

Not long ago, I took a watercolor workshop. That was less painful than gouache. I like it, but it's tough to work with preparing the paper, having it be wet enough but not too wet, letting layers dry before adding more paint ... or playing with having the pigment float.. kinda cool. But then there's what's supposed to be the grace of using just individual, mindful, sweeping strokes. Mmmmm. You're not supposed to smoodge the paint back and forth with the brush (You're not?) - it eats up the fibers, breaks up the surface of the paper, so inelegant. As if an artist's inner critic isn't screaming loud enough to begin with, huh? Okay, so the graceful brush strokes? I'm not quite there yet, but it sounds like a plan. For now I'm just smoodging along.

I've always liked colored pencils, especially the water-soluble ones (watercolor pencils). I know you can buy tubes of paint in different shades too, but I like the idea that the colored pencils won't dry out. And if you take them along, you won't have to deal with loose caps on tubes coming undone and having globs of paint everywhere (really, it's not like I'm a slob. I'm just trying to deal with the reality of it, you know?). I also like that you can leave them dry, or hit them with water (and smoodge the paint around into the paper) to mix the colors, and bring out the intensity more. The faster I can get these done, the more I can do, the more I can experiment and play.
And ... the quicker I can scan them and post them, too! :)


Wendee said...

And who is this Joe guy? Stand up, wave to the crowd, Joe! :)

Nina Berry said...

That tree is beautiful, Wen.