Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Yesterday's post was the first in way too long. But I haven't been snoozing. On the contrary, it's been a very productive couple of months. First off, I finally accomplished a long overdue studio cleanup. I jettisoned some supplies that have been cluttering up the landscape, both literally and figuratively; I got the bookkeeping up to date; I sorted through the idea file and cleaned that up a bit; and I took inventory of a drawer full of half-finished pieces that I want to complete. Perhaps most important, I came to a decision that simplifies my life and gives me a huge boost of energy -- to focus on watercolor (with a collage or two thrown in now and then) and stop playing around with every painting medium that comes into my field of view. I like to try new things, but over the last two years, I found myself getting so scattered that I couldn't see where I was going.

Watercolor has been my favorite medium since I first put brush to paper. As happy as I was with my finished acrylic paintings last spring, the process of creating them was not one I enjoyed. And oils in any form trigger my chemical sensitivities, so that's definitely not an option. But beyond the physical reasons to stick with watercolor, I came to realize that my recent successes were a message from the universe to stay on the path. It's good to know where you stand.

Ever since I started painting seriously, I've put paintings away for some period of time because I get stuck and can't see how to proceed. I periodically revisit each one and think about how to resolve whatever problem caused me to banish it, knowing that I'll eventually come up with a solution. Last year seems to have produced a bumper crop of these goodies. Here's a peek at one of the pieces I pulled out of the "works in progress" drawer today:

The Eyes Have It (detail)

The weird blobs that appear on the surface are masking fluid. I have always disregarded the instructions to remove masking fluid in a very short time, with only one really awful experience as a result. And I started using Incredible White Mask a few years ago and have been very pleased with how easily it came off (as long as it was reasonably fresh when applied). I probably should throw in a disclaimer here along the lines of "don't try this at home" so I don't have a bunch of ticked-off watercolorists emailing me with threats of bodily harm!! My studio stays at a very even temperature because I need to use an air conditioner for my allergy problems. Heat will cause masking fluid to set into the paper: if a painting is exposed to heat or sun, you'll never get the masking off.

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