Wednesday, December 10, 2008
December Virtual Sketch Date
Here is my interpretation of December's Virtual Sketch Date challenge (http://virtualsketchdate.blogspot.com/). Being a Midwesterner, I am well acquainted with those days in winter when the world presents itself in shades of gray and brown, when the snowy earth and the dishwater sky seem indistinguishable. The reference photo was evocative of familiar winter scenes. I decided to try this one as a paper collage.
I had been saving scraps of paper by color in envelopes, so my colors were ready to go. I used a scrap of leftover 140 lb. watercolor as the base, coated on both sides with matte gel medium to keep the paper from buckling. I wanted something in a landscape orientation, with the buildings off to one side, instead of having the center of interest in the middle. So I played with a simplified sketch on tracing paper, then transferred my plan to the prepared watercolor paper. After that it was a matter of laying down layers of paper, and attaching the bits with gel medium, working from back to front in layers.
For a day or two I thought this would be the finished version. I liked the simplified shapes and quiet quality. But as I looked at it I became dissatisfied with the central shapes. The corn stubble in the foreground was more interesting than the cluster of buildings, perhaps because of its layering and complexity. So I went back and added layer to the buildings and trees. That was an improvement.
Here's my work in progress. I keep the scraps of paper in the value I want out, and the others put away just to help me keep focused on one thing at a time. I find having a container of water handy. When I get stuck, or need to tear paper, I can keep my brush in the water, preventing the gel medium from destroying the brush bristles.
When I finally decided I was finished and the gel had dried, I put the collage under a stack of books to flatten it. Thanks to the Virtual Sketch Date folks for posting the reference photo. Check there on Saturday to see how other people interpreted the snowy scene. I will be busy all day Saturday, so decided to post when I had adequate time.