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."
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.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)
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.