It has suddenly dawned on me that I’ve been painting a series about water for over a year. It started with a trip to New Zealand in January 2017 and continued through a trip to Japan and now to memories that go back 10 years. The paintings in my Water Series, some look like water, some like space, some like well, I don’t know what.
Water is fascinating: how it moves; how it changes color; what’s on the surface; what’s down deep. You get glimpses, but you’re never really sure. It’s always changing.
All of them are painted with acrylic on paper, to this day, many of them using acrylic like watercolor, my first love.
And there is no easily recognizable sequence. They all start as paintings of water (my intention), and then the painting takes over and tells me what it wants. At a certain point with each one, it doesn’t matter what my wishes are/were, I simply have to go with what makes sense for the painting itself. For someone who likes to be in control (moi), this is not easy. So sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, the painting goes in a file and I start a new one, hopefully having learned something from the previous failure.
It started with Beyond the Pale
Does Beyond the Pale even look like water?
Then came Living the Light which, of course, does feel similar to Beyond the Pale. In addition to using acrylic like watercolor (thinned extensively with water), both also made extensive use of masking fluid to protect the lights.
Then came several more paintings with non-water titles but based on lake and river water in New Zealand and Japan. This started to just be about water. Then I started seeing seals … or fish … or maybe birds. Ultimately it’s about migration. And here I started not thinning the acrylic so much with water, using it more like acrylic and less like watercolor.
Then came Go with the Flow, which certainly looks more like water.
Watching the water billow up next to our boat on the lake in New Zealand was the inspiration for the followling three paintings, none of which ended up looking particularly like water, but with all of which I ended up using acrylics like watercolor (again).
As with the paintings, Passage and Jacob’s Ladder, Celebration started with the color patterns in the churning water next to our boat in New Zealand. And the colors and painting process used are the same as in Passages.
But what a difference. This painting is playful, joyous, dancing. It’s a celebration of life in all its complexity and wonder. Somehow this painting insists on being happy.
Finally, (there were others, but I don’t want to overdo it), Silence of the Deep.
This time I wanted to convey the depth of the water. Lots of layers of blues and white. This was on Lake Ashi in Hakone, Japan. Does it look like water?
At the end of 2017, I started to go back to my (many years earlier) memories of the Merced River, visiting Yosemite with good friends, and looking at the river rushing over the rocks from the balcony at the inn.
Finally (so far), I have one last memory of Merced, Rapids:
I have no idea where this will end, if ever.
Well, I haven’t blogged about this for awhile, but I’m obviously still sorta schizophrenic ( I produce one kind of art at the Art Students League — see my last post — and something very different at home). Not sure how to explain this, but at home I work with fluid/liquid acrylics and move them around with my fingers, palette knife, etc. … but not a brush. And the paintings I produce look very different.
Case(s) in point: two recent paintings.
Wanted to create a stormy sky and turbulent water underneath. Guess I did that, but the yellow sky looks almost more dominant than the storm. Tried to fix it, but it didn’t want to happen. OK. I know when to give up.
This started as an experiment with red, blue, teal and white. Who knew I would end up with dinosaurs?
Playing with fluid acrylics is a lot of fun. It doesn’t feel like serious work, which is good. I just do what I feel like doing and let the paint (with a little help) do its thing.