I had a surprise attack of creativity today.
I woke up feeling ill… still. Nonetheless, it was high time to visit the studio, so that is what happened.
Yesterday I had purchased a couple half-sheets of new watercolor paper. Ummm… for the techies out there I think it was an Arches smooth-surface cold-press paper of some sort in natural white (not “brilliant”). This was my first foray into 300lb paper. Classy stuff. People say it will not buckle, and doesn’t have to be taped down or mounted to prevent that undesirable outcome.
So that was burning a hole in the back sear of the car all last night. I put into practice the tips Rebecca and Tom (studio-mates) offered last weekend: the paper tore beautifully into quarters when folded repeatedly back and forth along the ‘cut’ line. On one sheet I wet the fold before tearing, and on the other I did not. It’s supposed to help, but the dry one seemed better.
At this point, things were really rolling. So, the next thing you know, two full sheets of smooth charcoal drawing paper are also getting folded and torn into roughly 11×14″. They’d just been lying around, so now they’ll be that much easier to use when the spirit moves me.
It seemed a shame to waste this trip to the studio, so I looked through some of my art books to get ideas for a new watercolor. like the ships or the Rabbit King. What then started as a quick practice-study became a pretty good painting in its own right:
After the effort that had just gone into preparing high-quality paper, everything about this picture was bad – it should never have worked.
The paper is absolute garbage – really lightweight and water-repellant. The paint was a really cheap set of chalky colors – and not even as colorful as the other chalky set I use sometimes. Very little effort was put into making this look good, until, after the first few dozen brush strokes it became apparent there was some potential.
The abundance of airy blank paper contributes this one’s fresh feeling. The fact that most areas of pigment are only a single layer of paint also helps. Despite the nice raw painting that come out of this session, it still was very light. The shadows needed to be strengthened and the colors made a little more vibrant. There is a spot on the farther arm that was too bright in relation to everything else, and that was subdued.
After the tinkering, the picture looks pretty good. It’ll be a challenge to eclipse it with the main work that it was a study for.
The image, by the way, came from a photograph of a boy (and a couple others) who was passed out drunk at a party. Not any more. The actual story here is anyone’s guess.