Monday, 18 April 2011

Pondering and painting

 I've been doing a lot of thinking about the workshop... I have lots of questions that I'm trying to answer. They include;
   How can I make sure that whilst I'm using Jane's techniques I don't become a 'poor imitation'?

The techniques are very different to the way in which I have been working lately and their 'newness' makes them very exciting. However I need (and want) to paint with my own voice and not make poor imitations of someone else's work. I hope that doesn't come across as arrogant as it sounds I'm struggling with the words. I think what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to paint a subject and be thinking 'how would she do that?'.  

   What can I take from the techniques that will inform my work and help me to grow?

This is an easier question to answer, mark making and surface quality. I have been feeling for a while that I have been getting stuck in a rut by relying on colour blends and glazing on smooth textures. It's a habit that I need to break. The workshop has thrown up ideas for experiments, what's not so easy is the next question...

   How can I adapt the techniques and materials to use what I already have without getting more?

...hmmmm..... I have a range of pastels but if I was to embrace this technique I would need to have a lot more, not to mention the medium. I'm hoping that by using what I have creatively I can adapt. I already have a selection of texture pastes and mediums which I'm sure with a little tweaking I can use. The proof will be in the pudding.

 With this is mind I started to work. Using very thick, half dry acrylic I started to make marks on the paper to indicate water and an area of reeds. With a sharp stick I drew into the paint almost carving into it. I wanted to get texture somewhat in the manner of the acrylic medium that I'd used in the workshop. I used a 300lb watercolour paper that would be able to stand up to all the gouging in texture. The photo is a little fuzzy and was taken at an angle to try and show the peaks and troughs of the paint.
Once that was dry I painted in the darkest tones using a burnt umber and indanthrene mix following the raised areas and lightened the thinnest areas in the water. Dry brushing over the reed areas where the indentations were thinnest meant the paint only rested on the proud areas of the paper leaving the indentations light. 

Now for some colour... using more dry brushing than anything else letting the brush whisper against the texture in much the same way as pastel would brush against the pastel ground medium.

Building up colour and tones slowly and adding in details this is where I have got to. Next I will work more on the reflections and light in the water. I think I need to bring back some of the warmth and colour.


vivien said...

a good series of questions to yourself, with the first one the key one - it's essential to keep your own voice I agree

That final pieces is lovely :>) textures can be mannered and meaningless if they are just done for effect but here they really add to the finished result.

Caroline said...

A very interesting post Lisa, your painting is lovely and thanks for posting the various stages. I think you will keep your own voice it is simply techniques you are learning but the subject matter and ideas are your own. It could be that you will work through this stage and find another way of adding more texture and variety to your work, or you may return to your usual way of working. It is all a part of the creative process, 'we don't always have a say in it' as fellow artist Maggie Latham wrote to me!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Thank you Vivien, I agree I think it's a fine line where the texture is concerned. I think I will use it in confined areas and try to intergrate it into the whole. The workshop has certainly got my brain ticking over :o)

Hi Caroline, thank you for the reassurance. I think the way forward is to keep working, experimenting and inventing. I keep seeing more possibilities but you're right the paintings dictate where they want to go - keeps it exciting!