Another Watercolor Dimension


Since the beginning of this month, I have concentrated on expressing my feelings in ways other than filtering them through my intellectual channels. I began by watercoloring a pen and ink drawing of my older autistic, profoundly retarded, nonverbal brother with whom I have never been able to communicate in the 60+ years we have been brothers. A week or so ago, I put brush to paper, without really knowing what I was doing, to see if I could express something. I don’t know if I did, but I found that certain blots I applied to the paper inspired other blots; a thought about Hans Hoffman inspired me to paint square color patches in places, and so on.

I thought about how one approaches the subject of drawing emotions or feelings and recalled my granddaughter’s response to my suggestion that she draw the feeling of hunger, as she was starving while waiting for dinner.

I am not that much closer to being able to express specific feelings. I can drip blotches of paint here and there and move on from that, but I have not cataloged my correspondences between form and emotion or color and emotion at this point. What I would like to do would be to develop my own iconography.

White Space

Since the brush stroke is not as much an expressive factor in watercolors as it is in other media (oils and acrylics, for example), I was looking for something else, perhaps unique to watercolor that could expand my options. I found white space.

In the top figure below, I dripped the liquid white masking fluid onto my 4X6 block of watercolor paper. Then, in the next figure I dripped red, dried the canvas, dripped the next color (orange), dried the canvas and the applied the blue. The final color I applied was the yellow, in a wash.

I liked the form of the original dripping of masking fluid, so I pen and inked the edges in order to give a cartoonish, three dimensional look to the white space.

Again, I don’t know what exactly I expressed in this effort, except that I like the technique. I like the idea that I can have two compositions occurring simultaneously: the white space and its own potential for color and form in comparison or in contrast to the surrounding space.

There are lots of possibilities to explore.

3 stages of December 9th experimental watercolor using white space

4X6″ Watercolor Block Cold Press 140#

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