More Experimentation in the Studio

I had decided to spend the week working on trying something new, so I continued using up the cutoff pieces from my last several drawings. The advantage was that the pieces would be small – a plus for me in trying out different things. It is so easy for me to get intimidated by having a large piece of board and not having any idea what to do with it. Once I have figured out what drawing I want to work on, I usually have no trouble starting the line out, but give me a blank sheet with no agenda  and I feel like the author with writer’s block.

Red flowers again

I let the red flowers painting sit a few days so I could get a fresh look at it.  I thought I might be able to control myself and not ink over parts I wanted to have more delineation, but, sorry, to say, I could not do it.  As I looked at it and added a little color here and there, I still wasn’t happy with it.   I broke out the pen and started adding a little ink.  I did end up liking it better then, but it seemed too sharply contrasted.  I went back in with the watercolors and added more of the ocher yellow to the petals and took out most of the white in the background.  I like it better now and think it might actually reproduce nicely for bookmarks.

Then I decided to move the palette off of red and into mauve.  I am slowly creeping up on the blues that I have so much difficulty with so this is the compromise. 

Mauve flower abstract

I softly drew out two flowers and began to lay in some color, lightly at first and then deeper and deeper.  When I had the flowers about half way where I wanted them, I started with background.  I know this may be reverse of how most watercolorists work, but I hadn’t decided if I wanted another flower at the top.  I actually had more space up there than the finished painting shows that I ended up not using.  I put in some background colors and then moved back to the flowers.  Slowly, I made it all darker and darker.  I am happy to say I was able to control myself not to add in the ink.

I am relatively pleased with the way they turned out, but I am more pleased that I let myself experiment for a change.  It is irrationally hard for me to do that.  I have a few more pieces of board left and I think I will spend this week doing the same thing.  As I said, I am creeping up on blue and maybe the last one can have a blue base.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:03:53

    I really like the new and improved red flowers. They have more punch than the original version. Also, liked the mauve, though I’m not really a mauve person. I too, have an aversion to blue, I can do teals, but really have difficulty with blue. My favorite palette is a split complement … red with yellow-green and blue green.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:32:34

    As you could tell from the year round Santas in my house, I like variations of the Christmas colors. I like your combinations too. This week and the last is for breaking my normal patterns. If I get happy from something I did in blue, it will be a miracle and a real accomplishment.


  3. JC Strong
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:50:51

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Facing a blank canvas and moving forward and stretching artistic muscles is a universal feeling.

    Sometimes art tells a story by what it represents, at other times it represents the artist’s journey with the medium or life experiences.

    Thanks for sharing your process….


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 11, 2011 @ 06:59:53

      Thanks, JC. It is hard to break out of what I do normally so this is good for me. I was feeling a little burned out after 3 entryways in a row with nothing in between and needed something different.


  4. lesliepaints
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 12:33:44

    OMG!!!! These are so beautiful!!!! Why are you still not happy with where you are going with this???? Try cutting two “L’s” from an old matte and fit them around these and take another look, Ruth. Many watercolorists would be very pleased with the look you have created, here.
    You are trying something new and very courageous in what you are doing. Sometimes it is difficult to get ourselves away from what we do best. We have so many set ways of doing things that we have lost track of what rules are for that way of working and what ones are for our new endeavors. When I try something new, I am well aware of the fact that I must go blindly and with an open mind. Your judgement on these is your preconceived image you have in your mind. Throw that out and allow the materials to tell you where to go as I find they will not lie. This work is freeing!!!! I love the energy and the color in both of these pieces and they look more like flowers in the act of living than photographic replicas of what they are. Have fun!!!! The images in your mind will burst forth as you explore each new technique. Wouldn’t a home you do, architecturally exact, look beautiful nestled in a garden of colorful flowers created in this fashion? I can see it now!!!!! High praise for what you are doing!!!!


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 11, 2011 @ 07:06:02

      Thanks Leslie. I respect your opinions so much. As I have said, I would have liked to be close enough to take one of your classes. I admire all of the recent new work you have tried out. I had planned to go and buy some mat board so I could frame a couple of things for show entries. I will try to get something fairly neutral that I can use for a lot of different projects. I agree framing gives a different perpsective.

      I do have preconceived notions of what I want, and this is a small attempt to break out. It is also hard to break out of the judgement phase too. I have decided to take a watercolor class in the next few months. It will be as much for the work time as the learning I think.


  5. Sher
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 12:43:28

    It’s always good to experement. Sometimes the usual, same ways and styles are comfortable but you don’t learn anything new that way.


  6. midnightcoiler (lynn)
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 17:27:39

    Ruth, Fascinating to read about your experimental process. I often have apprehension about trying new techniques. Not really sure why that happens. Both of these pieces are beautiful. I love the red flowers.. something about the brightness and depth.


  7. ruthsartwork
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 09:42:42

    Thanks Lynn. I was much happier with the red flowers after I worked on them the second and third time. I worked on the purple ones twice and tried not to rationalize the process so much – just go with what I felt might look good.


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