I got stuck. My painting wasn’t going anywhere special – so I started a watercolour marks project. I’ve been wanting to develop a more abstract approach to my painting for some time. After being away from my studio for almost 4 weeks in December and early January, my mojo didn’t come strolling back when I picked up my brushes as I expected it to. It was well and truly on holiday with no intention of coming back.
So I patiently pottered in the studio whenever I had time. I mixed paint from pure pigment and started trying it out on a set of cards. I tidied. I bought a few new books for inspiration and information. Finally, I gave up waiting for the painting motivation to reappear spontaneously and decided to get stuck in to a project making watercolour marks.
And yes, before you say it – that is pretty much a description of watercolour painting. The distinction is the difference between playing (experimenting) and taking a more focused approach to creating a completed painting.
I was having a conversation with Noel Gray on Monday. He mentioned in passing that he’d just squashed his dinosaur. (Not your average business conversation!). What he meant was that he had squashed his origami dinosaur and would have to repair it. And there we had the start of my watercolour marks project. I had a mental image that had to be captured.
I decided to take a journey towards abstraction. I define abstract paintings as those which are paintings ‘about’ the subject rather than paintings ‘of’ the subject. That could mean capturing a quality, an essence, a thought which is sparked by the subject.
The Watercolour Marks Project
My intention is to paint a postcard-sized abstract every day. They will all be very different from each other because I will be pushing my boundaries. Some won’t be particularly good, but I will be brave and share them anyway because this is a journey and there will be wrong turns along the way. So here we go:
I had to start with a painting about a squashed dinosaur. I tried to capture a sense of ‘Squashedness’.
Day 2 was a restless day. There was calm beneath, but my mind was leaping all over the place with new ideas. I blame the watercolour marks project.
On day 3, I had a conversation about history and the way unforeseen events can change our direction. Events overtake intention.
Day 4 was about recurrence. The cat ended back at the vet (Horatio is an expensive pet right now) with a recurrence of his urethra problem. It was time to paint recurrence, and end the week with the thought that there would be a recurrence of abstract paintings in the coming weeks.