Abstract Habits

These days, when I sit down to paint, I usually wet the entire paper, choose a color and then apply it with a wide brush.  I usually make an arc and, based on the color and variations of that arc, I choose another color (complementary or more closely-related) and paint another swath, either adjacent to or in spatial contrast to the first. I enjoy the color interactions enhanced by the wet paper and the different ways each pigment spreads to form secondary colors or, as the paper dries, the tendencies of the colors to coexist side by side.

Lately, my abstracts resemble cross sections of the human brain.  I understand that this might be due to my fascination with this most complex organ, but perhaps it is my habit that governs the same-ness of these studies. I do have a number of related studies that I call my ‘brain series’ (Brain TeasersCompartmentalizationMemory FadesUntitledBrain Abstract, Head Butt) that I can’t seem to break away from.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I felt as if I have been neglecting the orange section of my palette, so I began today’s study with an arc of perinone orange flanked by cadmium orange pure and warm orange (Daler Rowney). I outlined these colors with a lemon yellow. I emphasized the roundness of the central arcs by painting the corners of the picture plane with a Winsor red.

I used the edge of a dry wide brush to form radial lines that appeared to meet at the center of the concentric arc construction. This is not visible in the final form of the study, since I painted ultramarine blue-colored wedge shapes between these lines. These shapes were painted on a thoroughly wet surface as was the central purple blot and the purple outline of the arc structure.

Watercolor Study - Purple and Yellow Arcs + 4 Blue Wedges Outside Orange and Purple Center

Abstract 91714
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Although this looks like a brain to me, I can also see it as part of a grapefruit that has been left in the fridge too long. I hope others can apply their own meanings to this abstract.

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