Chalkboard Tryout

I decided to try painting on a black surface. My friend Nina of gave me the idea with her wonderful light-on-dark sketches.

I have had this pad of black paper for ages. Once in a while I try a sketch or two, but for the most part, this black pad has been lying dormant.

I subjected one sheet to my ‘fold and dunk’ process with visions of a Paul Klee-ish masterpiece dancing in my head. I was really surprised when the ‘coal black’ of the paper leached into the sink water in which it was soaking.

I squeegied the paper onto my board and, when it was nearly dry, I glazed it with a combination of titanium white/gouache. The folds in the paper did not accept the pigments as well as I thought they would. The end result was a dirty chalk board look. (Show of hands: Who remembers dirty chalk boards from school?)

I used watercolor crayons next to draw a portrait using some shapes that I have used in the past.

Here is my abstract portrait on darkish paper:

Watercolor Crayons on Black Drawing Paper

Abstract Portrait 021817
12″x9″ Coal Black Drawing Paper 60#

Grid Position No. 4

The fourth position in my grid is the next sequential painting in the clockwise direction on the original grid of 11 paintings.

Red is beginning to show on the left; the skinny blue and red lines move toward the right edge, compared to the same color lines as the painting in grid position #3. This study stands on its own as well as providing continuity to the grid as a whole.


Grid #4
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper


Position 4 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Grid Position No. 3

The study below is in position #3 of my crumpled-paper grid. We’re starting to round the corner and start onto the second row. Even though this piece is directly adjacent to the artwork in Grid Position No. 2, it has a different palette and a different feel. The charcoal lines mark the ridges of the rumpled paper, giving context to the surrounding colors.

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Position #3

Grid #3
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper

Below is the entire grid with No. 3 in situ. The charcoal lines are not pictured here.

Highlighted #3 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Position 3 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Abstract 021617

I hate to throw away paper. With my recently-developed technique of folding, spindling and mutilating paper (a behavior I had to learn since this conduct was largely prohibited in the 1970s).  I am trotting out my marred paper for this treatment.

It is working out quite well. I painted the abstract below on previously-folded paper I hadn’t gotten around to discarding. I folded it more and created different angles and finally crumpled it into a ball.  Paper never gets quite flattened out, once it is crumpled, which is the interesting part about painting on it.

Watercolor: Abstract - Folded, Crumpled Paper 2.16.17

Abstract 021617
14″x11″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

I like this piece. I can envision a less complicated version of today’s abstract serving as a background, or substrate for work of Paul Klee, one of the Masters of the Bauhaus.

Grid Position No. 2

Grid #2 pictured below is the second entry in The Grid, moving counter clockwise from the upper left. Grid #1 was featured yesterday.

Watercolor: Abstract - Grid Position #2

Grid #2
7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper

Here is the Grid #2 in context of the entire set of 11.

Highlighted #2 Position on Grid of 11 Watercolors

Position 2 of the Grid
Grid Collage on Plywood Board

Feature for 2.17.17

Today’s feature is on of the early small format scratchers that I executed (see Scratchers, The Series).  It is more abstract impressionists than purely abstract, as I have included figurative elements.

Watercolor: Abstract - Scratcher 2.16.17

Early Scratcher, 2.16.17
Matted 7″x5″ 138# Mix Media Paper


The Grid

I wanted to paint something big, but I have all these small, crumpled sheets of paper around my studio. I crumpled up a whole book of paper for my Crumplers and Scratchers series.

I taped as many of these small (8″x5.5″), crumpled sheets as I could on a plywood board I use for stretching underweight watercolor paper. I covered the board with eleven of them.

Then I used wide brushes to paint on this prepared surface.

Watercolor: Abstract - Eleven Paintings

Grid Painting

I like the coherence of this study, as the design transcends the black grid borders. I hope each component can stand on its own as complete.

Note: Before I took the grid apart, I rubbed it with the side of a charcoal stick. This darkened the high points of the paper. Unfortunately I did not photograph this stage of development.

Grid Position No. 1

I started on the upper left side of the grid from my other post today (see The Grid), and numbered each in a counter-clockwise direction, spiraling into the center. Below is the first painting in this series of eleven.

Before dis-assembling the grid, I rubbed the entire assembly with charcoal to accentuate the high points of each crumpled-paper component.

Watercolor: Abstract with Charcoal, Grid 1

Grid Position #1
5″x7″ 138# Mix Media Paper


Feature for Wednesday 2.15.17

Today’s feature is a combination of crumpling and scratching. It has a slightly different palette than previous studies, in addition to strokes of white charcoal.

Matted Watercolor: Crumpled Scratcher with White Charcoal

Crumpled Scratcher with White Charcoal

Abstract 021317

For today’s study I used a different kind of paper than I usually do: 246# linen finish ‘acrylic’ paper. I believe it is called acrylic because that is the intended medium, but it is not a plastic paper.

I scored it with a razor blade. The thickness of the paper and its texture must have contributed to the smoothness with which I was able to make the cuts.

Watercolor: Abstract on Scored Heavy Linen Finish Paper

Abstract 021317
14″x11″ 246# Linen Finish Paper

I used my brush strokes to echo some of the lines I made with the blade. I did have an idea in mind when I made the incisions, but many of them were barely visible and required pigment to make themselves known.

I like the interplay between the mostly unseen scoring and the paint. I experience d a kind of vibration as I drew my brush across the regular texture of the surface. This, plus the absorption properties of this new paper were different than those of the paper I normally use.

I look forward to more experiments with this paper.

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