Abstract 060515

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I used to be a photographer. One of my favorite things to do was to walk around the city seeking the unusual: an old storefront, handwritten signs, graffiti… anything that caught my eye. That was when I lived in New York City. Never a dull moment.

Now I live in California, Silicon Valley to be precise. I haven’t found much to photograph or to draw on a day-to-day basis, so I resort to painting what is on my mind. Sometimes I want to represent my emotional state in visual terms. This difficult, but can be very rewarding.

On most days however, I need a prompt to jump start my creative process. Lately I have been doing this with a random splashing of masking fluid on watercolor paper. Sometimes the mask inspires a color scheme; sometimes I already have one in mind.

Today the masking stage consisted of droplets (as I scraped the remaining latex from my old bottle). I moved the paper around to steer a stream of latex into a pattern. Then I jarred the paper sharply in two different directions.

This is the result:

Watercolor: Abstract 060515 Stage 1

Stage 1 – Latex Resist

It is difficult to see, but the drops reminded me of stars in the sky. I had the idea of making the background very dark, but also making a transition across the page. I used the color scheme from yesterday.

This is the composition after the first application of watercolors:

Watercolor: Abstract 060515 Stage 2 Indanthrone Blue, Cadmium Red, Hansa Yellow

Stage 2 – First Wash


I added emphasis to the masked drips by dripping watery paint on them. This caused red blooms on the blue half of the paper and blue blooms on the red half.

I wanted to darken the colors, but I had to very careful that the second wash didn’t remove the bloom patterns.

Watercolor: Abstract - Additional Washes

Stage 3 – Additional Washes

I always love removing the latex to see the crisp white patters it left behind:

Watercolor: Abstract - Masking Removed

Stage 4 – Mask Removed

The final step was to add color to the white patterns. I used ink to fill them in:

Watercolor: Abstract with Ink Tracings

Abstract 060515
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I like this composition. It reminds me of something celestial. Stars made of matter on the blue side and antimatter on the red side, perhaps? A black hole with string theory strings of 10 dimensions in between the red and blue fields?  I like both of those ideas.

Perhaps you, dear reader have another interpretation.

4 thoughts on “Abstract 060515

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