Today’s watercolor experiment:
For something completely different, I started my watercolor with pen and ink. I had a rude surprise when I opened the box where I stored my dip pens, I found that most of my inks had dried up, inside the bottles. I hadn’t used them in a really long time!
Some calligraphy inks survived, however, so I began my painting with broad pen strokes of carmine, followed by doodles of dark blue. I took my pen point ‘for a walk’, a phrase that I learned from Paul Klee’s writings. The square edge of the nib caught on the surface of the paper even though it was moderately smooth, so I was unable to sweep the paper with complete freedom.
I was expecting interesting blotting and streaming effects when I wet down the paper. Alas, the calligraphy ink was waterproof! Usually when I don’t want ink to run, it does.
My plan was for the ink to flow into the clear-water wash. Therefore, to avoid a busy composition I kept my doodles sparse. When it did not flow, I resorted to filling in with watercolors. I used were: Moonglow (a brown-hued, multicolored pigment), aureolin yellow, quinacridone purple and burnt orange, Prussian blue, cadmium orange and Winsor red (not necessarily in that order). Here is a preliminary stage of today’s study:
For some reason, when I doodle with pen and ink, or pencil, tend to draw eyes. Today was no exception. I’m sure there are psychological reasons for this. Instead of delving into this here, I refer you to previous posts about eyes, as relates to my older autistic brother (Name This Photograph, The Eyes Have It and Photography and Truth).
I completed the study in two stages. First, I increased contrast by painting saturated colors around some of the pen outlines. Second, I sought to visually organize the ink scribbles.
Here is the final stage of today’s composition:
Part of the fun of composing an abstract study (for me), is making sense of, or unifying the marks or splotches on the paper. In today’s composition, I suggested faces to go with the eyes. There are at least five, by my count. The relationship among the faces becomes a point of interest in this study.
In hindsight, I wish I had scribbled with a bit more purpose, without relying on the colors to run. The underlying pen and ink drawing should have been able to stand on its own. I don’t think I achieved this. The study began to take shape in the organizing stage, where I embodied the eyes into their respective faces.
It would be interesting to compose a study with permanent and water-soluble inks, and experiment with an overlay of watercolor washes.