For this exercise I was inspired by Karen Densham  who paints in watercolour [which seems the less preferred medium amongst contemporary painters]. She paints in a simple but effective manner and chooses unusual subjects that tend to be alone.
I looked up all artists mentioned and Richard Long  also appealed because of his use of found surfaces which makes me think of using a piece of slate possibly for assignment 5.
For the first few I chose places that I would normally pass by without a second glance – an overpass, ugly with concrete and a locked up piece of grass decorated with graffiti.
The overpass hadn’t even got the interest of graffiti, it was just pure grey. I liked the shapes of it though and how the roof dominates the composition.
The next was interesting because this scruffy green space had the indignity of being locked up and not even accessible to people living nearby.
Next was a walkway past a church, maybe there isn’t enough interest in this one?
Next, I painted this on holiday in Wales and this is the view from my dining table – quite a change from the first two – a more conventional pretty view. I thought the bay tree was a strong shape, and I like the negative painting of the light on the trunk which is something I’ll try to replicate in the future.
Next was a statue that I had to look right up to so it was an unusual view, and initially I got the body length wrong but I just painted over the mistake and corrected it which looks much better even if a bit messy.
I started to think these subjects were a bit standard. I looked round for things that were more unconventional and not so much of a ‘view’. So I looked around for things that are easily missed, but are interesting in their own right…
Here are a few sketchbook notes I made as I walked around.
The first watercolour was this charity box that despite its appealing expression, seems to barely be noticed by the crowds walking by.
Next was this wet floor sign, which I painted mainly wet in wet with a few shadows around it.
I liked this stone plaque of the mermaid, which did have odd dimensions.
This was the head of a petrol pump and I started to let the watercolour just do its thing rather than trying to control it. This was inspired by the watercolours of Elizabeth Peyton .
My final experiment was of a floodlit woodland and to this I used masking fluid and salt. I left the masking fluid on it as I liked the plastic look and it still took watercolour paint on top. I like the textures I came up with here. I tried salt with black ink too and that worked, but probably not as well.
What went well?
I think I was too conventional when I started this exercise – looking at ‘views’ even if they were an over pass. I think by the end, I am really starting to look around at different things and ‘see’ around me for the first time.
What could be improved?
I need to continue looking for the overlooked which is more interesting often than the pretty stuff.