So, Having finished a few pieces, it was time to clean up my work table...important ritual in that I could begin again with clean palettes, brushes, cloth to dry my brush and paper under my work area to scribble notes on. More on my little portable work area later.
As loose as my work sometimes appears, it always begins with some drawings, some value studies, maybe even a few color swatches. Yes these are tight and carefully planned jumping off points. I usually do something more of a botanical study first. This is almost like a first date with the plant, getting to know her, understanding the sharp places and the soft places, the bright sides and the dark. Getting rid of all my original ideas about her and making some real and surprising discoveries.
After that first work, I can let loose her wild side and ask her what she really wants to be. Then the mineral and gem paints jump in and help her shine, shine, shine and we both enjoy a wild dance or two.
One of the things I really love about watercolor is that I can work on two or even three pieces at the same time, allowing one some drying time while I work on another so painting time is really optimized.
Recently I began collecting samples of the minerals and gems I am painting with. They usually live in the shell you see in the lower right. Here I've spread them out a bit. That's bloodstone, fuchsite and serpentine across the top of the drawing auditioning for the next painting and a very nice kyanite crystal on the upper sketchbook, which happens to be one of my favorite darks with sparkle and dries with lovely patterns in it.
I also have a third experimental piece I am working on to create a kind of smoky night sky effect. That one is just to play with and see how the paints effect each other. I like to paste these kinds of things in a sketch book with lots of notes so I'll remember what I did when I get something I want to repeat.
And it really is the week before Christmas and I'll be going to a Winter Solstice celebration at my yoga class tonight. Yesterday was a Christmas Party with my church group. I like to mix it up in real life, too. Here's wishing you a wonderful Christmas, a lovely warm Solstice and Hygge Winter.
Kathleen Barnes, Paintdiva
Art is my passport to a limitless journey. When I am not exploring my materials on a technical level, there is visual exploration before me. When that seems a bit thin, there is a deep calling from the realm of my imagination. Sometimes all three come together in a perfect storm. That storm, that combination of the real, the imagined and the very paint and canvas is what calls me daily, and I answer as much as I can.....