Another Found Watercolor

Looking Ahead
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 10×7.5″


I have been looking through my watercolors and rediscovered more work. I usually store my small watercolors in clear plastic file envelopes. As much as I like the envelopes, the work can easily be forgotten because only the top image can be seen through the envelope. I have been taking all this work and retaining the best paintings and drawings. or the work that seems most important to my process. Then, it goes into an Itoya portfolio book. I can store a lot of work in them for very little space. Storage is always an issue if one makes work consistently.

In looking through all this production I can also see how my work has changed. The earlier pieces on masa paper are looser obviously wetter. I had decided to work on this paper on a whim and fell in love with it. I wet it thoroughly and work on the wet paper. It gives me all kinds of soft atmospheric effects and unexpected bleeds and blooms. It puts me exactly where I need to be. I am forced to work from the general to the specific and, then, only as the paper dries, can I refine until all the details can be added.

If you enlarge the above image you can see some tiny blooms on the lower right of the image. You can see small snowflake-like shapes. That is from the sizing on the back of the paper. If I soak the paper, the sizing is disolved from it and I can eliminate those little blooms. So I can be selective from  piece to piece. There is a certain element of surprise that I like in not soaking the paper well. I just don’t know where or which random effects will occur so I have to take whatever comes. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t matter in any case. It’s just part of the process. It’s all part of the play and practice of making art.

I have about a dozen of these rediscovered watercolor on masa pieces that demonstrate much of what I like about the paper. I will bring all those things to your attention in each posting. So, dear reader, there is much to anticipate in the weeks to come.

T F m
February 27, 2014

The Allure of Pattern

Asian Screen
Ball Point Pen on Paper, 8.5×5.5″

I am a sucker for pattern and color. Since color is not an issue for drawing, pattern becomes the important additional element. Pattern seems to enliven the drawing. It renders a drawing more believable. If I can draw the pattern as it appears to undulate across the fabric, it helps give the fabric its form. It doesn’t matter what the pattern is. It could be stripes, or flowers, or plaid. Each provides the same believability.

In this case a white kimono with Japanese calligraphy is the fabric providing the central pattern. It’s loose gestural quality is contrasted by the rigid geometry of the screen. The painting on the wall behind her on the left finishes the geometry with a linear perspective. The space seems complete. 

In my previous post, I said that invented spaces seem unsatisfying their contrivance. This observed space makes the contrivance of the invented space more apparent. This has some alteration of my view, but as a directly observed setting, this is so much better to me.

T F m
February 19, 2014

Waiting and Hiding

Reading While Waiting
Ball Point Pen on Paper, 6.5×5″

It seems that waiting is such large part of of our lives. At least it has been for me. Waiting for family to come home. Waiting at the orthodontist for the kids. waiting for my usually late hubby. Or waiting for my usually late younger son, waiting for a response to e-mail, text, or voice message. Oy! waiting, waiting, waiting! I have almost screamed from excessive waiting.

Since I have made it a habit to take my sketch book with me pretty much wherever I go, waiting has been transformed into a time to draw. I keep my skills sharp and even come up with some nice pieces. Waiting has become more than just tolerable. This drawing was done while waiting for the eye doctor with my mother. While she was seen to I did my drawings in the waiting area. 
This man was coping with waiting by reading the newspaper. I think having a newspaper up in front one is also a good way to hide. Just prop the paper up in front of you and it’s your own little world. My drawing or someone else’s playing with a smart phone is not much different. Each activity isolates the users from each other. But the paper is a real physical barrier screening one from view thereby making the isolation more complete. 

I think the themes of waiting and self-isolation in a contemporary context are interesting to explore. I don’t know what will come of it but maybe something good.

T F m
February 15, 2014



At the Beach
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7.5×10″


I have been going through my watercolors and sketch books and rediscovering forgotten work. It’s not difficult to lose track of work if you have enough output. Sometimes the desire to make work overpowers the desire to maintain order. I always make huge messes while I work. I manage to ignore it until it gets so chaotic that the mess impedes creative activity. Then, I clean up and begin the process all over again. It’s better to have creative chaos than idle tidiness.
On my other blog I posted that I have often invented environments for my subjects but I often find them unsatisfying because the contrivance is too obvious. This is one of those occasions. I made him a hedonist at a nude beach. Meh! I’d much rather the scene had been dressed so as to stimulate a different set of ideas. I’ve done the beach routine too often and it now falls flat for me. C’est la vie!

T F m
February 10, 2014

Long Hiatus

Ball Point Pen on Paper, 8.5×5″

It has been since last June that I last posted on this blog. I have been posting work to my painting blog for most of that time. I just decided to do more drawings and I also went through my sketch book and found all kinds of drawings to post.

Also, since I became a Grandma, I am in thrall to my adorable grandson. He has taken much of my creative attention. I have been sewing baby clothes for him. He doesn’t need much now so I am making larger sizes for him. Besides, I just can’t help myself.

Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. Drawing is foundational to an observational artist. When I draw all I need to worry about besides a certain stylistic naturalism is value range (light to dark). When I paint I have to keep track of hue, color temperature (cool, warm), in addition to value range. That’s a lot more to juggle. Without the complications of color I can concern myself  with just structure. The structure of this is merely the structure that communicates a particular female form. I would rather that it had included an indication of context but the time allotted and the circumstances of the drawing environment precluded any of the surroundings. 

I have often invented a context in previous works but they don’t seem satisfying.  The contrivance seems to be too obvious. So viewer, take them for what they are. Fast studies. Having limited time is beneficial as it encourages a swift execution which forces one to just observe and draw. With no time for the inner critic to interfere with the process, the drawing can just happen.

More to come.

T F m
February 10, 2014