Paintings from Not Your Grandmother’s Watercolor

I haven’t been crazy about the last couple of rounds of paintings I’ve made in my Not Your Grandmother’s Watercolor class. It’s still a fun class, and I’m sure I’m learning a lot, but I’m just not loving the paintings I make in it. It’s okay, I’m logging the necessary time, and there’s nothing wrong with the work, I just feel like it doesn’t express me as well as, say, the pieces I’ve made for the shop.

Week 2: Narrative painting

We were supposed to bring in a photo or an object for a narrative painting (as I understand it: a piece that tells something of a story, as opposed to being just representative). I brought plastic utensils, a packet of black pepper, and a pair of disposable chopsticks from our kitchen junk drawer.

Utensil stack

Utensil stack

It looks all right, but I don’t think it’s very interesting. Outlining the paint with black pen was part of the assignment. I wish I’d been able to take a photo of what it looked like before I did the outlines; I couldn’t decide whether it looked better with or without them.

Week 3: “Saving the white”

We were to bring in photos with lots of contrast, for practice in “saving the white” of the paper (via masking fluid, or using water in wet-on-wet techniques). Masking fluid certainly is interesting: you brush it onto the white paper (or onto an already-painted surface) and once it dries, you can paint over it without affecting what’s underneath. When you’re finished, you rub off the fluid. It works the same way as pysanky, or batik, or any other kind of wax resist. Unfortunately it takes a while to dry, so I couldn’t get too crazy with it in class, but in future I might.

Snowy branches

Snowy branches. I used the masking fluid to do the snow on the biggest branches; it also helped keep those areas pristine while I did the smaller branches.

Unreal map

Unreal map. I didn't use much masking fluid here (and where I did, it turned out to be unnecessary). Mostly I was just messing around with making shapes. I was looking at a photo of land and water, but I think the painting looks like a too-dark mess (but the shapes are indeed interesting).

Blot ceiling

Blot ceiling. This is the one I feel most drawn to, though I still don't feel it's up to my standard. I used masking fluid for the boundaries between the blots.

During class I was blaming my so-so paintings on my tiredness, but in retrospect I think I’m just due for a good artist date. I have been doing a lot of work lately (my floral work map is effective!) but not refilling the creative well as much as I ought. It’s time for some new eyes.