I had an idea in mind as I started today’s watercolor: Yin and Yang. My plan was to wet the entire paper, lay in a blue wash shaped like a comma (similar to the orange shapes of yesterday’s study) and somehow add an orange comma adjacent to the blue one. Since orange and blue are complementary, the yin-yang theme would be realized by their juxtaposition.
Alas, things didn’t turn out that way.
Before I begin, let me list the colors that I used in this composition: Prussian Blue, French Ultramarine (Winsor Newton), Cobalt Teal (Utrecht), Peacock Blue (Holbein), Indanthrone Blue (Daniel Smith), Cerulean Blue (Winsor Newton) and Spectrum Yellow Gouache (Winsor Newton).
I did lay down the first streak of Prussian blue in an attempt to form a comma shape. I couldn’t quite pull it off, so it became an arch. When I painted the corners untouched by the Prussian blue wash, with French ultramarine, it struck me how its red tone contrasted with the greenish hue of the Prussian blue. I thought that, by using blues of different shades, I could make a rainbow of sorts.
Creativity also takes advantage of circumstance. For example, the water pooled at the bottom of the picture plane, leaving a plume that extended past the dark blue (indanthrone) arc. Thus, the idea of Blue Rainbow with Funnel Cloud, in keeping with my mood, superimposed itself on my composition.
What about the yellow bar?
The only non-blue pigment in the entire composition is the solid yellow bar (spectrum yellow). I had envisioned an orange bar, but the only gouache I had was the yellow. I wanted a bright, contrasty shape in the middle of my ‘rainbow’. I had Hans Hofmann in mind as the sharp edges and the yellow color contrasted with the diffuse background. I don’t really think that there is a ‘push-pull’ effect, as Hofmann liked to call the interactions of maximal contrast among foreground and background shapes, in his compositions. If there is, it is serendipitous. I can’t claim to have a reason for including the yellow bar in my design. I do like it though.