Saturday, October 19, 2013

When to STOP: Tree Peony Seeds in Several Movements

Sometimes I draw something I like so much that I'm afraid to take the next step. And then I add paint and I like it so much that I don't want to add another wash. And then I add a shadow wash and I like it so much that I don't want to add page design or writing elements. So I do some writing and maybe a border and I realize I've overdone it and lost the freshness somewhere along the way. And I say, "Why didn't I stop earlier?!" But if I'd stopped earlier, I may never have put pen to paper, or brush to paint, or put my eye to page design or bothered to reflect and write. The lovely potential illustrated journal page would have been left in my mind's eye.

I spoke to an abstract artist who was showing his work in a small French town this past summer. I asked him how he knew when to stop and of course he said that this questions was every artist's dilemma. It is a constant push and pull, exploring something fully and learning about the process but not to the point where the painting is tied up in a tight little opaque ball of sweat and over intention. That's why I love watercolour so much. It is pretty obvious when the freshness has fluttered away, beating a hasty retreat from an over zealous painter.

1. Pen on Watercolour Paper
The technology we have today gives us a chance to capture the steps along the way as we draw, paint, paint some more, design and reflect. So here goes; tree peony seeds in several movements. The question remains. When should I STOP?
Nice pen contour drawing. I was tempted to stop here.

2. First Wash of Watercolour

Trying to decide about simple base colours to set the light tones. Also trying to leave some sparkly white. Pretty bland so I was not tempted to stop here.

3. Darks and colours. 

Zeroing in on the darks while trying to keep things fresh and colourful.

4. Final Shadows

Final touches of Cobalt Blue to add a few shadows. Okay, I think I will stop now. 

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