“What do you see?” – Is it a waste of my time?

Following on from my last months Facebook post, “What do you See?” , you probably wonder how playing with watercolours results in a final painting ,or is all this pouring and pondering a total waste of my time and paint.

Alongside, one of many paintings that was created from EXACTLY that question: “What do I see?” Below, I’ll walk you through some of the thoughts and processes that I do to create something along these lines.

Where do I Start?

We first have to answer the questions of what size paper am I going to work on and what colours am I going to use? The most important of these being the colours. Its important to use colours that are transparent in nature and can easily be manipulated AFTER the paint has dried. This means: no staining colours, and best if they are not opaque. A lesson learnt from the above painting, where I used inks which are NOT removable once dry and can create a difficultly later in the process.

The first step is to mix up 3 colours. Here I used:

Cadmium Red

Cadmium Yellow

French Ultramarine Blue

With hindsight, I would now probably choose different yellow and red so as to avoid the opaqueness of these two above. But, they still do work.

Stick the paper to a flat water resistant surface with masking tape. Wetting the page around the edges, pour colours lightest to darkest onto the paper, making sure to leave whites. Use the angle of the board and a spray bottle to move the paint around.

I added some inks to this and salt to create some interest.

The Process

One can spend a lot of time looking at the final results of the pouring. The “What can I see?” question now needs to be answered. Be aware to turn your page round as sometimes another angle creates a whole new picture and sends you off on an exciting new tangent.

Here I used the patterns from the pouring to create butterflies and the salt left me with the idea of blossoms/flowers.

I do draw ideas onto the paper as I work, but these change as the painting develops. Negative painting (or painting AROUND shapes) is critical to the creation of the final painting and here you can see I’ve started painting around shapes, creating butterflies.

Final Results

The FINAL result: “Blossoms and Butterflies”. 58cm x 80cm (A2 size), painted on Hahnemeule paper 300gsm. Currently still available.

Painting this way takes hours and you start with no final destination in mind. Some land up in the bin, or just for playing around, but when you get it right, the results cannot be replicated and the outcomes are out of this world.

See more like this on my Gallery