Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Watercolors

T. Renner, "Untitled watercolor #1," 2008, watercolor on paper, 15.25" x 11".

I made these two watercolors in the week following my first "Immediate Touch" class at the St. Louis Art Museum. I'd never worked with watercolors before although I had access to a set that my girlfriend had when she was a schoolgirl. I got a little bugged-up and thought that the next week's exercise at SLAM would be on "hot pressed" paper.

In fact, the first class was on "hot pressed" paper and the next would be on "cold pressed" paper; that class turned out to be delayed until class #4. The difference in the papers is that "hot pressed" has a smooth finish that encourages water (and pigment) to run off the paper whereas "cold pressed" paper encourages the water and pigment to soak into the paper and spread out. Thus, these works would look very different if they had been done on different paper.

At any rate, these works are very process based.

The first is an exercise in controlling drips. I applied the large central swash with a brush and then hung the paper vertically and added colors that would run down the page. After finishing one direction, I flipped the page and repeated the process. I was inspired to do this work by Stanley Donwood's cover for Radiohead's "Hail To The Thief."

The second is an exercise in letting rain do the work. That is, I dabbed some pigment on a sheet of paper and set it out in a light drizzle and went off to do something that I no longer remember doing. On returning, I was very pleased that it had not rained very hard and that the pigment had spread very nicely. I picked up the sheet very carefully and turned it once vertically and once horizontally (or vice versa) and hung it to dry. (I did touch up a couple bits of pigment with a water charged brush but I couldn't identify the areas now.)

T. Renner, "Untitled watercolor #2," 2008, watercolor on paper, 15.25" x 11".

You might note that neither of these works is named. Feel free to suggest something. I think I'm too involved with the process to be moved by the content (which I nonetheless feel to be considerable) of these works.

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