Friday, October 28, 2016

When in doubt, make big changes...


So said Steven Aimone in a workshop I had with him a few years back.  If I remember that, I usually find a way forward with something I've been struggling with.

In fact, I knew I'd written about this before and did a search through my blog for the phrase and saw it in a May, 2013 post.  I'd forgotten Archie Brennan's bit of advice that I also mentioned there: "When in doubt, simplify."
I'm taking to heart something Archie Brennan said at the recent workshop:  "When in doubt, simplify."  Also in mind is another quote, interestingly also beginning the same way:  "When in doubt, make big changes." (Steve Aimone)
 Over the past several days I've worked with many drawing/paintings and have been happy with some and not so pleased with others.  Yesterday, I spent most of the day re-examining them, deciding some were OK and those that weren't, I worked on.  I over-painted, washed away, reassessed and finally gave in to using white gouache on some to go back to lighter areas.  I just haven't yet found a light enough earth pigment to do what I want.  I'd wanted all of the work on these pieces to be from natural sources--but, after all, I'm the one making up the "rules" to follow.  And I can choose to change them if I want to.

The biggest change came with a large watercolor piece that I described in process in a previous post, the one on which I sprayed acorn dye over leaves as a starting point.  I just wasn't happy with the end result and yesterday morning I decided to try to wash off some of the dark area that I'd gotten from the iron/rust solution.  I took the painting to the cottage and ran water from the outside faucet all over it.  Nothing budged! At least I know how permanent that stuff is now.

All I could think of was "when in doubt, make big changes" and the biggest change I could make (other than ripping the paper to shreds and reassembling it--and yes, I thought of that) was to use white gouache to cover some of the dark.

And that's what I did.  While the paper was still quite wet I laid it on the porch and began to paint with the gouache and a large, flat brush.  Within about 20 minutes I had this: 


And I'm much happier with the image now.

The other large piece is OK, too.  Here's where I left it yesterday afternoon... didn't do any other work on it except to once more look at it from a different orientation:






I have one other idea to work on today.  It's my last full day here and I'll need to pack up the studio later in the afternoon.  But I want to begin (and maybe finish) one or two more things.

1 comment:

Nancy Nordquist said...

It is inspiring to be able to look at your working methods as you progress from your first impressions to the final (or approaching-final) complex interpretations. Thanks for sharing your Hambidge experience in your blog.