Now and then I paint representations of my work area (Desk, Clean Desk). It has been particularly messy these days. I’m not sure what motivated me to revisit my desk in its current condition. Perhaps it is the easiest subject, since it is right there in front of me. The thought of filling up the page with clutter of my own making appealed to me somehow.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I began without sketching. I painted the lampshade first. then brushed in some structures: the edge of the desk in the foreground; the throw rug below that, on which I place my watercolor paper; the upended soda bottle crate in which I store my paint in mini file boxes; the paint brushes sticking out of their bottles; the bronze statue of a jaguar; my large palette.

After letting all this dry, I took up a pencil to sketch in some more details: pictures on the wall; the calendar; the canisters that held paint brushes; a glue bottle; smaller palettes, and so on.

I painted in some of the details with whatever colors were at my disposal. I used turquoise for the walls; yellow underneath the lamp shade, to represent the bright light; purples and greens for different canisters. I wanted the compositions to have dark values at the bottom, so I used Van Dyke brown for the part of the desk in the foreground and yellow ochre and other earth colors for the throw rug.

I wanted to abandon the look of reality, while at the same time creating a recognizable space. I used a dip pen to outline some of the mess on the desk.

Watercolor: Pencil, Watercolor and Ink

Studio Desk
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


This does look like my desk. I did not make it as wild as I could have. It’s not much of a color-outside-the-lines composition, nor is it too abstract. I did not have an organizing principle with which to base an abstraction of my desk as I did with with my representation of my kidney stone pain.  It is hard to switch gears from a representational beginning to an abstract ending of a composition.


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