Like many artists I love depicting light in my paintings. This work was started by flooding cool yellow on the paper from the top right then cyan, ultramarine and a little Maimeri permanent red light (not light red which is more opaque) in varying amounts from the left and base, weighting the base with darker hues. The yellow was to give a sense of light, although at this stage I did not know the resulting scene was to be a forest. My concern was purely to paint atmosphere… the sense of light. The depiction of a setting would come later. I was working with cling film technique with students, so while the work was still damp I covered it with cling film, pulling and manipulating it to create interesting shapes, bigger in some spots and smaller in others. At this stage I was thinking “underwater scene” with the patterning being refracted light within the water. On removing the cling wrap I saw a tree suggestion on the LHS and I started to ‘pull” that out from the background. A lighter patch suggested a waterfall so I lifted colour to re-inforce that…. made easier because of the extra soft Fabriano torchon paper. Gradually the forest evolved with some traditional brushwork, a little use of palette knife, scraping and calligraphic marks using sumi ink, watercolour and a little white gouache. The centre back was left to suggest the indistinct, hazy mystery of distant, vegetation.
Last time I was at the Makers Workshops in Burnie Darren gave me a couple of A4 pieces of handmade paper to try watercolour on. I have painted both sides of one and the rougher side of the other. The paint does not bleed through which is good as I found both sides receptive.. I really enjoyed using it. I feel my experience with very soft, rough textured papers such as Fabriano Torchon extra rough and Art Basics torchon was a good background. I personally loved the rougher one most… I do like texture. Possibly, if you are a devotee of Arches paper only, (and I know some watercolourists are) it may take a little getting used to. I am still to try the smooth surface which may have a different feel. For those who like to experiment you must try it…. you will be pleased you did. I will have to include one in my exhibition “Touch” at the Wonders of Wynyard in September.
The blue wren which crept in is an incomplete commission work for Mike (not on Burnie Makers Paper). I may do a wren on the remaining smooth side of the Burnie paper. It is important to choose a subject to suit the surface and painting medium.