Comfort Zone

Today’s watercolor experiment:


I was still thinking about aging and diminishment of faculties as I was trying to decide what to paint today. The visual sense is very important to me so I view the loss of sight as a very scary, dangerous prospect.

I though of Paul Klee‘s drawings. I don’t remember any specific ones, but rather that some of his figures were composed of triangles. Triangles also played a role in Edward Abbott’s Flatland, a book about a 2-dimensional world. In this world, all geometric shapes presented themselves as lines, for this is how they would look if one looked at them from the edge of the paper. For example, if a circle moved toward you, it would appear as a line that would get progressively bigger as it approached. However, if you were approached by a triangle, you would see the same thing but there would be no warning before you were stabbed by its point. And lines? Forget about it. In Abbott’s world, lines had to waggle back and forth so no one would be run through, mistaking them from points.

The watercolor sketch below is more about disability than it is aging, although one is more prone to disability the older one gets (according to my doctor).

Watercolor Sketch - Triangular Person with White Cane Approaching a Sharp Point

Comfort Zone (10″x15″ 140# Watercolor Paper)


I usually use a high quality watercolor paper in the form of a block. That all the paper is glued together on its edge to prevent buckling when soaked with water, makes it quite easy to use. Today I used a single sheet of oversized paper. I had to tape it down on all sides as a way to minimize warping from application of watercolor washes or glazes. I was disappointed by the way this particular type of paper accepted color. The size of the picture made it difficult to photograph with my available lighting.

Masking tape masked out the triangular shapes of the figure and the arm. Latex masking fluid did the trick for the white-tipped cane. I used no masking for the red triangle.

I used pen and ink to outline the shapes of the figure and to emphasize the dividing line between the comfort and caution zones.


I used three different washes in the zone of comfort (the area in which the figure is standing): Prussian blue, quinacridone purple and permanent mauve. For the remainder of the foreground I used English yellow, a nice orange-toned yellow.  The red triangle was colored with Winsor red.


I call this composition, Comfort Zone with the subtitle Madge is About to Get the Point. One can see that Madge is trying to use her other senses to compensate. Her nose is up in the air, trying to sniff out any danger, her ear is listening for the tapping of the white cane and her toe is poised carefully in the air as if she is about to take a baby step forward.  However, there is nothing to alert her to the danger right in front of her.

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