Engine of Consciousness

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I had no idea about the topic of my study today except that I wanted to start with a random placement of liquid latex on my paper. I’m always surprised by the outcome, and it gives me the opportunity to think during each stage of the creation.

Steps in my process today:

1. Latex resist application:

I was happy to find that I had some latex resist which was still in its liquid form. I had thrown away a couple of bottles in which the contents had clotted.  I felt much more freedom today pouring onto a large 12″x16″ surface than when I used to pour it onto smaller paper.

At first I was thinking trying to form a sort of curtain with the drips from the latex. It didn’t work out. However, the drips I produced by tilting the paper were actually more to my liking. I turned the paper by 90 degrees and tilted the paper again. The results reminded me a bit of the squares of Mondrian.

2. Washes:

As with my post, Waves and Reflections, I first washed the paper with Prussian blue, darker at the bottom than at the top. I dampened the paper again and applied the waves in broad strokes of Prussian Blue, narrowing them as I moved up the paper.

I have been using ink in the past few experiments. I wanted a nice blot in the middle of the paper so I dripped some dark blue calligrapher’s ink in the amidst the plexus of latex resist. It blended with the surrounding Prussian blue.

For one final wash, I used cerulean blue beginning at the top, and washed around the blue of the ink spot. I use cerulean for sky colors. I used a dry brush in an attempt to lighten certain areas in the same manner as I did when I applied the Prussian blue-laden brush on the bottom half of the paper.

3. Ink outlines:

I used the blue ink to outline most of the border of the dried latex. I knew that when the latex would be removed, the area below it would be white.  I was waiting for it to be revealed before I planned the next step.

4. Inside the lines:

I thought that a contrasting color would ‘pop’ if I put it in the white space. I began applying cadmium orange with a thin brush leaving white space at the edges. Then I brushed in ‘sunshine yellow’ ink between the orange and the blue edge.

The next idea was painting each enclosed, blue-outlined space with a different color. Since yellow inside a tube is a reminder of my current physical issue (kidney stone), I decided to go with a ‘body’ motif. For instance, I constructed a blood circulatory system. Right of center,where there were two parallel channels. I painted one red and the other blue. Where they met with a connecting channel, the colors mixed to form purple. I filled another channel with bile green and another descending channel with lumps of burnt sienna.

Inside the complex manifold space just below the center spot, I created a representation of folds and mounds (sulci and gyri), found in the thinking part of the body.

Here is the result:

Watercolor and Ink: Abstract - Blue Washes with Ink Outlined Latex-Resisted Areas

Engine of Consciousness
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


My machine-like, digital construction is superimposed on a smoothly-varying, ethereal background. My imaginary engine is greater than the sum of its parts and has created its own background, its reality.

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