Sunday, March 19, 2006


Sometimes, when they warn you of clouds, storms, gusty winds, choppy surf ... you need to just go anyway.

I got to drive along PCH, going north during the day, yesterday. Normally I make the drive at dusk or later. I had the option of taking the 405, but, gee ...
It was a little cloudy, but still sunnier than I think most of us expected. Stopped at a light, I noticed that the BMW behind me was going top-down, going convertible while waiting at the light. You’ve gotta love those automatic converting convertibles. Were those designed specifically with Southern California and PCH in mind? Boy, you have to wonder. A half-mile later, I see an Audi, going the opposite direction, stopped at the light, doing the automatic convertible thing, too. I suddenly have car-envy: “Gee, I’d like a convertible...”

We all meander up the coast. I have the option to turn up on Sunset. I look further north and think, “Nah”. Should I turn up on Topanga? Malibu Canyon? Nah. There are still open stretches of the coast to see and enjoy. Who knows, maybe the view over the hill, on the way to Kanan will be worth this lazy weekend drive.

And it is.

So, when I get back to town, I hit the art store to stock up on the tubes of paint that I’m missing. It’s like going shopping to the market when you haven’t eaten; you stare at the freezer section, in a dazed zone. Mmmmmm; it all looks so good. Michael’s didn’t have all the colors on my list, so I had to venture out this morning for the remaining colors. Had to. Mmmmmm.

So, last night, I played a little bit. I’ve decided to start with gouche and just get back into doing gradations, seeing what strokes will work for me. When I last worked with gouache, we were learning to do pretty tight renderings of products. It was painful. The most fun I had was when a substitute instructor (sorry Richard) came in, who had us do these really messy, free, applications of paint to use as backgrounds. I wouldn’t say that you slap the paint around; it’s more of a flip-flap-flip-flap, back and forth, moving your hand slowly from spot to spot on your board. You sort of blend the colors quickly, and the little strokes leave a nice, interesting texture. That was fun. So, I’m back to playing with that, then looking at the work to see what I’m learning, bit by bit, and then deciding what to experiment with next.

I like this one the best.

These are just little (6x6”) experiments with straight color from the tube, line work, layering. Yeah, a lot of overworked paint. In my mind, I hear more than one teacher from my past warning us ... “Don’t overwork gouache!” But, these were fun, and instructional. No thinking, very little planning, and not necessarily anything I'm expecting to eventually frame (but you never know). I’m wondering if acrylics would work better, but gouache is matte, and I think it’ll take pencil better - - I’ll probably use these as foundations for illustrations or collages or something. I expect these pieces here will evolve a bit over time. I also see how I would approach acrylics and watercolors differently, so this gives me inspiration for those media as well.

Click here to go to the flickr site with all the scans.

I also picked up iridescent/pearlescent medium (you mix some of it in with normal acrylic paint to create metallic, shiny effects. Sounds like great hair product, too, huh?). I’m curious to see what this does, compared to, say, the gold-toned paint that I have.

I’m planning to work next on mixing custom colors (as opposed to straight from the tube) before applying them and also to play more mindfully with the actual blending of different colors on my boards, to better control how the colors blend into one another. I also have an idea of what kinds of pieces I’d like to create; a collection, actually, themed around the ocean, of course, but with a purposeful story. You’ll have to stay tuned ...


Magoo said...

funny how art is in the eye of the beholder.. While you are thinking how these "experiments" are just alright, I would kill to have a set of three of them just as they are, hanging on a wall.

Awesome work...

If you did a set of three big prints using the colours you saw as you drove by the pch (which i've done a few times, and cannot speak of the jealousy I feel that you can do it everyday), and made them 30x30, I think they would sell in 3 minutes at a gallery.

Give people "the ocean" without telling them that they are getting the ocean.. Now that is cool.

Dont ever stop using your gift..

karen said...

Wendee, I like these studies so much, especially the 3 way gouache blend. They're all just so beautiful and refreshing.