Earth Tone Abstract

Today’s watercolor experiment:

My two previous foray’s into earth-tone paintings were a bit drab and monotonous; I’m not even going to provide links to them. If you really want to see them they both were posted within the past couple of days.

Today, I started with my usual soaked paper and laid down some of the earth tones that I tested yesterday by painting the pure pigment and gradually darkening it to black on one end and lightening it to white on the other:

Watercolor : Test strips with yellow ochre, quinacridone orange, burnt umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, quinacridone nickel

Earth Tone Test Strips

Stage 1 – underpainting:

I began my study with raw sienna on the upper left corner, merging it with yellow ochre and ending in the lower right corner with quinacridone burnt orange. While the paper was still wet, I added opera rose, a pinkish red in the region between the raw sienna and the yellow ochre.

Watercolor : Abstract - underpainting with opera rose, raw sienna, yellow ochre quinacridone burnt orange

Abstract 102014 – Underpainting

I made sure that I did my blotting and dripping during this initial stage of painting – a lesson I learned yesterday.

Stage 2:

Watercolor: Abstract - overpainting first stage

Abstract 102014 – Stage 2

The colors of the underpainting gave me a great opportunity to see what would happen when I added a blue pigment. The earth tones of the background ranged from yellow to red and, of course the opera rose added to the red coloration. I re-wet the paper and, as expected the underlying reds contributed to a purplish hue and the blue-covered yellows resulted in a green coloration.

In the concavities of the blue streaks, I used more opera rose. I was hoping that the jelly fish-like tentacles of the red as it streamed away from the blue arches would be preserved after the paper dried. Alas, they were impermanent and diffused away before this could happen. I did add a bit of the yellow gamboge into the mix outside the blue lines.

Stage 3:

Finally, after leaving the second stage to dry thoroughly, I couldn’t think of much more to do with this study. Then I had an idea. It was as if a light bulb went off in my head, one of those newfangled light bulbs.

Watercolor: Abstract - Earth Tones

Abstract 102014
9″x12″ 140# Rough Watercolor Block

I took some of my water soluble oil paints and brushed in yellow and white parallel lines. I connected them with another set of parallel lines to complete the suggestion of a light bulb.

I still consider this an abstract painting. Perhaps the viewer may see my light bulb, perhaps not. I suppose I should classify this study as an abstract expressionistic work, as it expresses my idea of a light bulb.

I wonder if this counts, since I didn’t start out with a light bulb in mind.

2 thoughts on “Earth Tone Abstract

  1. I didn’t see the light bulb – but I am a newfangled light bulb resistor so maybe that is why. I saw Rafiki’s tree in the Lion King – when he smears his magical concoction and an image of Simba appears (I have seen it 1000 times because of Dylan).


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