Archive for the ‘Half Sheet of Watercolor Paper’ Category

Cloud Landscape

January 26, 2010

Despite that this painting sort of looks like a lower case “a” I think it turned out pretty good.  It really captures a good kind of motion, and sort of looks like things I like.

Short list of things I like that this painting resembles:
1. The clouds vs. continents angle I have spoken of before
2. The path from Candyland
3. A science book illustration
4. Plate tectonics diagram
5. A map

For those interested I would like to call attention to the erasing.  I like the erasing because it suggest refinement, in the sense of a rock tumbler.  I think it is pretty cool to erase and redraw, erase and redraw until you get it right or you give up.  I also think the rock tumble analogy works well for my thinking.  For example; how do you know when a rock is properly tumbled?  or how do you know when to stop dusting?
Its sort of fantastic.

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Change of Activity

January 11, 2010


“Why not think with your knee cap?”
-Joseph Beuys (Not a direct quote, but I am pretty sure he said something like this.)
For the past two months I have stopped my running program for the winter and have taken up swimming.  I have been running for the past eight years and this has been quite a change.  It is quite a different experience moving through pool water than it is moving through a landscape, and I can’t help but wonder how this is affecting my painting.  Spacial relationships in a pool are completely different.  In running, space is mostly understood in terms of distance, while in the water filled pool the relationship to space is much different.  There is a much greater interaction with up and down, and everything is much closer.

While it is not a particularly well articulated or strongly held belief, I do feel that our physical activities influence the types of thoughts we are able to think.  So much brain activity is focused on interpreting a reacting to physical stimuli that it seems changing the way you interact with space would change you ability to think about space.

Empty Something

November 13, 2009

Landscape14

Looking outside, I think I need to introduce a little more natural space in these.

The Clouds Fall Apart

November 3, 2009

Landscape13
Just kind of moving along and enjoying drawing cloud/continent lines.  Still thinking about the color and empty bands.

Milk Containers Floating in Orange Cola

October 18, 2008

Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes I wonder who am I painting for.  I think audience is an important part to any art form.  The diagrams in Scott McCloud’s Understanding comics, where on one page a stick figure hands his comic to another stick figure, and on the next the stick figure buys a copy machine and the whole author/audience relationship changes really sums this relationship up.

For example, if you make an awesome card for your mom on mother’s day, your mother better like it.  It is cool if other people like it, and it is cool if they like it so much they trade your mother a new (object of mother’s desire) for it and put it on display.  All these things are cool, but first and foremost your mother better like.

I guess the part that is missing is knowing what your audience likes.  If you don’t know what your audience likes or needs or wants, how will you make something that they like/need/want.  You have to kind of know them and know your relationship to them.

With painting, many times I find I am painting for myself.  It is not bad to paint for yourself, but you should not do it all the time.  However, I wonder if I am painting for myself and I don’t like the painting, is it because it just was a bad painting, or because I don’t really know myself.

Nameless Running Animals

August 23, 2008

My approach to painting is very similar to my approach to running, I just go out there and keep at it. Sometimes I will run five miles and not get anywhere. Sometimes I feel very fast.
Painting is very similar, I can paint for months and have dud after dud, or have something beautiful just out of reach, where if I only could paint a little faster or a little longer I might have caught it.
With this painting I feel like I am gaining on something. I feel like I am getting somewhere. This painting is the running equivalent of passing the slower members of a high school cross country team.

This painting feels like a step in the right direction, and I have high hopes for the next one.

Science (Transparent) Fiction

August 2, 2008

Still moving with transparency.  And kind of groaning over the last blog entry.  My story should have spoken more about the close ties between the faded and the transparent, and less on the watcher.  I should have personified memory or something.

I am happy with this new painting, although one of my close friends said, “what is that? a milk jug rocketing into space?”  This comment has lost some of its sting now that I have written it down, but needless to say this is not a picture of a space bound milk container.

One thing that is kind of new to these paintings is the shadows on the rhododendron.  I think that was a good feature, especially when it is found next to the flat color of the rhododendron through the milk container.

To Fade or Transpire (Transparentness)

July 23, 2008

I know that transpire has nothing to do with transparent, but it is too interesting of a word to leave out completely.

I have become very interested in the relationships between fade (fading) and transparent (becoming transparent).  I think these ideas are important to me and important to watercolor in general.

For example, what marks the past?  I sort of think relics and monuments from long ago mark the past, but it is really our memories that replenish it and keep it from fading.  However, even with our memories, relics and monuments working together, the past seems to fade.  It does not go away, but becomes transparent to our memories.

Now something that is transparent is different from something that becomes transparent, but I sometimes wonder how great a distinction this really is.  If things are transparent, they cannot fade, at least in visual terms, because if they are transparent there is nothing to fade.

Concrete example, lets say there are two birds watching a hedge.  If a rabbit runs by the birds will watch it and then, it will slowly fade from their memories.  If a transparent rabbit runs by the birds will never notice and there is nothing to fade.  Now, what if there are hundreds of thousands of transparent rabbits?  Or the birds are transparent?  It seems a little silly because I do not think my ideas are there yet.

100% Allegory, non-GMO

July 10, 2008

While not especially apparent in this photograph, the area where the line falls behind the milk carton is really pretty nice. As dumb as this sounds, you can really paint cool transparent things with transparent watercolor (My library now subscribes to the OED and I was tempted to use the word diaphanous in this sentence, now that I know what diaphanous means.)

I am only sort of happy with the rabbit in the carton. I think the color is little too saturated, and I am not really sure why I placed the rabbit there in the first place. I guess it kind of reminded me of a picture on a fruit box. If anyone is selling an apple that tastes like a rabbit who has drank too much milk, this painting would be perfect for their crates.

A Rabbit and Three Containers of Milk

May 22, 2008

Q. Are poets better than painters?
A. Who cares, a clever painter can slowly poison you with cadmium and cobalt, probably at the same time.

Where do paintings live?
An easier question is where to poems live?  Poems live in words, and some how words exist outside of our reality (right?).  Every time you read a poem it is the poem.  The poem is in a book, a person is saying the poem, the poem is on a calendar.  It is all the same poem.  The poem lives in the words and not really in a place.  You can picture the poem, but you do not have to picture its location, because the poem is its location.

But what about paintings?
I hate to think my favorite Rothko is rotting on a conservator’s table, I don’t want to think about a sleazy stockbroker hoarding a beloved Baldessari, I never want to think of a page in a book when I think of Anselm Kiefer.  When I think of paintings I never think of location or space, it is often too sad.  I think the only time I can really be happy thinking about a painting is when I am in front of that painting, when I am painting, or when I am too distracted to think about where that painting is.

Paintings shouldn’t really be anywhere.