Purely Process

Nothing too inspirational happened today. I was too lethargic to read, although I started a very interesting book by Dr. Patricia Churchland called Touching a Nerve. She and her husband Dr. Paul Churchland are neurophilosophers, a subject I find extremely interesting and hope to write about in the near future.

I found myself staring at my blank watercolor paper with nothing to say (at least on a conscious level). So I decided to concentrate on process only.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

My eyes glanced from palette to paper and back. I finally settled on cadmium orange as my first attack on the paper. No real reason except that it was a beautiful color and it was not transparent. Somehow I wanted to cover a strip of the paper with a bright color. Before it dried, I echoed its arc with Winsor yellow. I knew they would merge and blend. Both being heavy opaque colors, they didn’t blend too much, leaving a short transition from orange to yellow.

While these two arcs were drying, I painted around the border of the paper with watery neutral tint. I wanted  the border to be soft, in contrast with the sharp arcs I just painted. I mopped up some of the gray tint with paper towels. In some places, I placed my letter opener on the paper towel as it lay on the wet surface, to get soft, white lines where its edge pressed the paper towel into the wet paper. I tried to fill these white spaces with red pigment with a small round brush, after it dried.

I drew three flat brushstrokes with a nearly dry, wide brush, from the center or the arcs to the upper right corner of the picture plane.

Returning to the arcs, I again echoed the inner curve, this time with permanent mauve.  I was trying to attain maximal contrast between two strongly-defined contours. The trailing edge of the mauve field outlined the middle gray brushstroke. I placed a gray swirl over the rest of the gray brushstrokes. Later, reworked it with quinacridone purple.

I tried to increase edge contrast on the convex side of the arcs, bringing peacock blue from the edge of the orange to the edge of the paper.

I stepped back from the painting after letting it sit for a while and decided it needed some bold strokes. I used neutral tint and a number 12 brush for this, drawing it from upper right diagonally down in two different slashes.

Watercolor: Orange Yellow Purple Arcs Surrounded by Partial Gray Border

Process Only
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


The two dark lines combined with their enclosed figures, impart a feeling of motion. I’ve noticed that I use the spiral icon quite a bit in my studies. I’m not sure why this is, although spiral symmetry is prevalent in nature. The saturated colors with their well defined boundaries are set in opposition to the unsaturated gray, less defined area above a diagonal drawn from upper left to lower right.

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