Exercise 5.2

For this exercise I was inspired by Karen Densham [1] 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 [2] also appealed because of his use of found surfaces which makes me think of using a piece of slate possibly for assignment 5.

Ink paintings

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.

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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.

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The next was interesting because this scruffy green space had the indignity of being locked up and not even accessible to people living nearby.

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Next was a walkway past a church, maybe there isn’t enough interest in this one?

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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.

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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.

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The first watercolour was this charity box that despite its appealing expression, seems to barely be noticed by the crowds walking  by.

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Next was this wet floor sign, which I painted mainly wet in wet with a few shadows around it.

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I liked this stone plaque of the mermaid, which did have odd dimensions.

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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 [3].

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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.

References

  1. http://karendensham.com/drawing-painting
  2. http://www.richardlong.org/drawings.html
  3. https://www.artsy.net/artist/elizabeth-peyton
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