Interrupted Circle

Below is another composition based on the round form. I placed a band of quinacridone burnt orange between the central dark blue and an outer perimeter of turquoise (that I later glazed with the reddish ultramarine blue). I left the paper white for a interval, just right of center and added flatter, unsaturated colors along with a couple more strips of quinacridone burnt orange.

Watercolor: Abstract - Interrupted Circle

Interrupted Circle
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

I like the unbalance between the two halves of this study.

Bruised Circle

I began with a  pale blue egg shape in the center of the page. I did this because I wanted this portion of my circle to look far away. Pale blue appears to be associated with distant background (i.e., in landscapes, blue recedes into the distance). Hans Hofmann formulated his push/pull theory, positing that adjacent colors have inherent spatial relationships.

Watercolor: Abstract - Bruised Circle

Bruised Circle
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

The darker concentric colors push into the foreground. The orange field surrounding the outer circle seems to be in the middle distance.

The mauve color at the 4 o’clock position on the circle appears to be a bruise, bleeding into the surround.

Blue Swan

I used a stiff brush to paint the initial blue curve. I have much more control with brush bristles that do not yield. I also like the dry-brush effect. The curve beginning with the dry brush ended with a gradient from dark blue to light. The darkest blue is at the edge of a teardrop-shaped form.

It was only after I finished the curve that I realized it was a swan shape.

Watercolor: Abstract - Blue

Blue Swan
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

 

The Wink

This is another study done on very heavy (246# linen textured) paper. I began by cutting curved lines into the surface. These curves serve as the scaffolding for subsequent brush strokes and the trough for the green ink I introduced while the paper was wet.

I moved the pigment around on the wet paper with an angled brush and was able to get some interesting edges.

Watercolor: Abstract - The Wink

The Wink
12″x9″ 246# Linen Finish Acrylic Paper

It was only after taking a second look at this composition did I realize it was a wink.

Near Miss

I slashed the paper with a razor and wet the it before I adding color to today’s study. While the paper was still wet, I made some blobs of yellow and used a dip pen to ink the outline them. The gash that I sliced into the paper interrupting the circular arc suggested an arrow. The rest of the composition designed itself as an abstract of the William Tell legend. My character was probably dropping to the ground as the arrow passed by. Also, I haven’t decided if Mr. Tell was targeting a banana or a yellow beret. At any rate, everyone is safe after the incident.

Watercolor: Abstract - William Tell Miss

Near Miss
12″x9″ 246# Linen Finish Acrylic Paper

 

Abstract with Arrow

I love working on this thick linen paper. I always start out by etching into it with a blade. I want to see how the colors bleed into the grooves. Today’s composition is a combination of watercolor and ink.

I had no plan when I started this except for a few curved lines. The bright yellow/green area points to the darker blue/gray design. It is an incursion from light to dark.

Watercolor: Abstract with Arrow

Abstract Arrow
12″x9″ 246# Linen Finish Acrylic Paper

 

Yellow and Red

Even though I started this composition with dark blue, it turned out to be mainly about yellow and red. The dark tones seem to recede into the background as the red thrusts forward underlined by the yellow. The exception is the dark streak that overlaps the red orb. The background forces its way forward.

Watercolor: Abstract - Yellow and Red

Abstract 031917
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

 

Pale Blue Abstract

Yesterday’s lesson was to clarify my relationship to the world through the marks I make and the colors I apply to paper, and not on their meaning. That is a very clear artist’s statement, but unfortunately it contains no information about how to accomplish that mission.

There must be  a starting point, a first mark on the paper. The next part of my painting process is to stare at the paper and wonder what the next brush stroke should be to please to my eye. I hope there is a connection between what is pleasing to my eye and my relationship to the world.

Sometimes my paintings are successful and sometimes they are not. It is always difficult. The key is in the routine of painting. The more one paints, the more chance one has of being successful.

 

Watercolor: Abstract - Pale Blue & Orange

Abstract 031817
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Oddly enough I find it is easier to impose my relationship to the world through my representation of an actual object than through an abstract idea or feeling inside my head. For example, my depiction of Arthur, my pet avocado tree, in his decrepitude, allowed me to focus on the idea of decay rather than the tree object itself.

Watercolor: Representation - Avocado Plant in Decline

Arthur, In Decline
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

 

 

The McGuffin

Abstraction:

I’m trying to get a better handle on the approach that various artists take to painting. I do this as a means to better understand and, perhaps modify my own approach to expressing myself visually.

I’ve had occasion to look up the definition of ‘abstract’ in connection with visual art. My reading about Richard Diebenkorn led me to the following quotation, which amplifies my understanding of the term:

“Abstract means literally to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract… a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference.”*

According to Timothy Burgard, Diebenkorn was influenced by a book written by Viktor Lowenfeld, The Nature of Creativity from which comes the following quote:

“Art consists in depicting the relations of the artist to the world of his experiences, that is, in depicting his experience with objects and not the objects themselves.” **

The McGuffin:

‘The McGuffin’ is a term invented by Alfred Hitchcock, for a movie plot device (a stolen painting, or a ticking bomb) that motivates the characters, but not the audience.

Thus, my lesson for the day is to clarify my relationship to the world through the marks I make and the colors I apply to paper, and not on their meaning.

Watercolor: Abstract - Blue & Orange

Blue Orange Abstract
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


*   The Nature of Abstraction, Richard Diebenkorn’s Berkely Period. by Timothy Anglin Burgard, in: Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 by T.A.Burgard, S.A.Nash & E.Acker Yale University Press pg 16 & pg 36

* *  Viktor Lowenfeld The Nature of Creative Activity (1939) fn 54 in The Nature of Abstraction, Richard Diebenkorn’s Berkely Period. by Timothy Anglin Burgard, in: Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 by T.A.Burgard, S.A.Nash & E.Acker Yale University Press pg 30

 

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