Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I haven't been in the mood to work on large watercolors lately. I did several last month and am one by one getting them framed in preparation for my first show in June.
I am torn between working in familiar media, colored pencil and watercolor, graphite, and trying new approaches. I loved building a shrine inspired by my mother, though a judge at a recent show just scratched his head and moved on. I enjoyed making a couple collages out of maps, though right now I don't feel I have the patience or attention span for another collage.
I have been doing 5x7" monoprints with Createx paints the past few months, excited by the possibilities of hand prints. The black cat near the barn door is an attempt at combining Createx with watercolor pencil, and I used Arches 140 lb. paper instead of the rice paper I often use. I like these prints, but can't get over the notion that the results look a little like tempra paint. This is a bit less garish than an earlier try.
I have never attempted using oil paints. I work in a small converted bedroom that serves as a studio, and have worried about fumes and a lack of space for paintings to dry. The space issue has not changed, but I think that using water soluable oil paints might work, at least later in spring when I can open a window for ventilation. Months back I bought an oil set for almost nothing at a consignment shop. The wooden box had some Grumbacher oils paints, a palette, and some brushes. I decided to try a monoprint using the old oil paint. That didn't work, since the paint had the consistency of dried glue, and in fact the tube split. But I decided to invest in a couple tubes of water soluable oil paint, and the monoprint experiments went smoothly. I tried the King penguin I've done in Createx and as a blind contour drawing. The effect was soft, probably too soft. I added watercolor pencil, and was pleased with the orange and yellow details, less pleased with the black feathers. I tried a TomBow marker and liked the result better.
I wanted to try again in another format, so I took a glass shelf out of the bathroom cabinet, rolled the paint onto the shelf and tried subtracting the image of my cat at her bowl. The effect was nice, but I liked it even better when I added some Micron pen. This is a hand print, because I don't have access to a press. Note - take off all rings before doing a hand print! They can leave a nasty mark where you want it least. My high school art teacher told me to always work on decent paper, but I don't always follow that advice. Since this was an experiment, I used newsprint, so this print won't last long. But I did learn that the oil paint doesn't smell too bad, and that it does clean up easily. Perhaps one day soon I'll have the nerve to actually try painting a landscape with my new toys.