Inky Past/Present Linkage

Today’s experiment:

I worked with ink today. I am pursuing the same theme I began a few days ago: the portrayal of the past in visual terms. Although relativistic physics tells us that time and space are intimately connected (i.e., spacetime), it is impossible to capture the flow of time on a canvas without the use of metaphor. Abstraction, therefore is a necessity.

If Paul Klee were addressing this problem, he would translate the ideas in his head directly to paper. In his parlance, he would ‘make [his thoughts] visible’. Somehow Klee had a linkage from the inner workings of his brain through his hands to the paper on which he created his art.

Wassily Kandinsky’s approach to abstraction was based on his philosophy from which he derived certain rules. To him, colors had universal meaning.

Unlike Klee, I don’t seem to have that linkage in place. Unlike Kandinsky, I do not have an idea about the universality of colors. Instead, my process today relied on my own association of sepia and yellow with the past. Sepia is the stereotypical color of old photographs. As for yellow,  mostly everything turns yellow with age.


I began by wetting my watercolor paper with water and pouring a bit of sepia on the upper left corner. As it was dispersing, I added yellow in to the mix and tilted the paper to let them merge. This combination of colors represented time past. It occupied a central position in the composition just like the past represents a sizable portion of my psyche.

I used red and blue ink to flank the central sepia/yellow area. I used these vivid colors to represent the present time. I insulated the central area (the past) from the corners of the composition (the present) with complementary colors. This was my way of insulating or isolating the past from the present.

Ink on Paper: Abstract with Flanking Colors Representing the Present, Central Yellow/Sepia Representing the Past

9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

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