Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking It Further

acrylic on paper
9” x 12”

Back into the routine, I did a few good paintings by deciding to take them further. With brayer paintings, I’m doing the equivalent of sketching. You know, flexing the wrist, throwing color and form together, pressing things into wet paint, seeing what happens, playing. It’s always the discovery that thrills me. When I plan a composition, it never quite turns out the way I envision and then I’m trapped with a not-very-satisfying experience and painting. But I also have lots of flops by going so fast, leaving a disappointing experiment to start anew instead of working with the previous one. This week, I was slower to put pieces aside as “done” and gave them some time to develop.

Do you ever go far in a piece? Or like me, not far enough? Sometimes that extra step can spell ruin or enlightenment. It’s such a fine line. I struggle with composition and pure play. Do I make something that pleases me or does it become a mish-mash? Is the experiment too busy and now only has one good section?

With these two, I wasn’t pleased with the beginnings but went beyond. Both are on cold press watercolor paper, not my favorite texture since it takes forever to roll paint into all those cracks and crevices. But in “Boundless,” I allowed myself not to fill in every nook and I actually like the result.

This opens up a new way of working that could be very beneficial. It might also limit the number of failures (rescued only by cropping for mini-paintings, cards, book covers)!

Wondrous Universe
acrylic on paper
9” x 12”


  1. Wondrous Universe is wondrous indeed!

  2. Hi Gina:
    I notice that new discoveries arise when I allow myself the gift of playful art creation and permission to experiment. Then the work of resolution of the piece follows, ending in satisfaction if I am successful. Or, if not successful, then I learned something, perhaps for the 20th time! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  3. I sometimes wonder how much further to go. Often I know I'm just looking at the skeleton and that lots of flesh needs to be added.

    Last week one day I'd reached my limit and throwing a temper tantrum, stomping on the painting and throwing it in the trash was actually quite liberating. That release led me to something wonderful......

    One never knows..........

  4. Wow! Love how "Wondrous Universe" sings! It just lifts you!!

    The journal I used for "Kenya" is 180 g/m2 Canson watercolour paper. The pages are larger than A4 size, but I can only scan A4 so I lose a little of the edges. I like the heavier paper because I add paint to my pages as well as collage.

  5. Thank you so much for visiting, Seth, and for your kind comments!

    I’m so glad to hear another artist needs that freeing state of experimentation too, Leslie. It’s a wonderful, absorbing, creative state of mind where so many happy accidents happen.

    How great that through your disgust you reached an enlightened “ah-ha!” moment with your work, Paulanm. Sometimes it does come down to coaxing that energy out of a frustrating piece.

    Mixed Media Martyr, thank you for your kind praise. I’m happy to see you using watercolor paper—that makes sense for your many layers of paint and college. I’d love to make my own hot-press watercolor books for journaling and collage. Have you read the Jane Davies new book Collage Journeys: A Practical Guide to Creating Personal Artwork? It’s great!