Chasing the Blues

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I began painting today with a number 20 round brush loaded with ultramarine blue. I drew a freehand arc that didn’t quite soak in. I never understood the term ‘dry brush’ until now. It doesn’t mean ‘dry’ as in, absence of water, it means relatively dry. The brush is not so wet with paint that it is completely absorbed by the paper.

My first arc worked so well, that I made a second one. The two arcs, the vertical (which I call the major arc) and the more horizontal one, indicate motion. I put a shoe on the trailing end of each.

I thought of the space in front of the arc figure and how it would change when the figure moved past it.  I made small squares on the left hand side of the paper and elongate squares on the right, to illustrate this point.

I washed the area to the left of the major arc with Prussian blue, and re-painted the squares that I had painted over. I used a paper towel to remove some of the wash that covered the arc and used a gouache yellow to paint squiggles behind it to indicate speed. To the right of the figure, where the space became elongated, I washed and streaked in gamboge and  cadmium yellow pale alongside the permanent mauve and quinacridone purple.

Watercolor: Abstract - Two crossed arcs, blue field to left of vertical arc, yellow field to its right

Chasing the Blues
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I like the idea of motion, and think it came across pretty well in this study. If I could have made the areas to the left and right of the major arc to resemble three-dimensional space, this study would have better portrayed what I had in mind. As it is, the major arc is similar to the element of a table-top scanner that lights up the picture being scanned. The element is in motion and the area over which it passes changes from ‘not scanned’ to ‘scanned’.  I would have liked to portray a change in the fabric of space as the ‘running figure’ composed of the two arcs passed by.  This study doesn’t quite do that.

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