Over the school summer holidays, we took a short trip up to Hervey Bay with the kids. I was inspired to create some abstract watercolour paintings based on the photographs we took while we were there. As you can tell, the idea was not to try to faithfully recreate the photos, but rather use them as a point of inspiration. I really enjoyed working on these, and want to try this painting style again.
This week’s prompt over at Illustration Friday is ‘Hair’. This is the perfect opportunity to show you two of my newest paintings! Both of these paintings include figures with long, flowing hair – at least, that’s what I see!
As I explained on a previous blog post, I’ve been experimenting with a new abstract painting technique. I start with an image that is purely abstract – I work wet-on-wet on the paper, use lots of paint and water and allow the paint to ‘flow’ in the direction it wants to go (sometimes I help it along). I add textural elements such as gauze, and then I allow the first layer to dry. After it has dried, I start adding more layers, and then an image begins to form – almost like a Rorschach test! As the image begins to form, I help it along by adding in details with a fine brush. In the end, I find the painting isn’t so abstract anymore.
In this first painting, I saw a female figure, floating on her back in the water. I imagined her as some kind of sea goddess, and gave her long, flowing hair. My 3-year-old son still says it looks like a jellyfish though, and points out the ‘tentacles’! I like that about abstract art – people can see in it what they want to. We all bring something of ourselves to the art we view.
In the second image, I also saw figures in the water. This time, I saw two figures and imagined them having tails – so they became mermaids. I added some scales, and like the sea goddess, long flowing hair.
What do you see in the images? Do you see the figures that I see? Do you see a jellyfish like my son does, or do you see something else?
This week’s topic over at Illustration Friday is Immovable. The first idea that came to me was stone – but then I got to thinking that even stone isn’t really immovable. Sure, it might take a long time but even stone is worn away by weathering and water. So that was my inspiration for this painting – stone being worn down by water:
Please forgive the horrible photo – I took it at night without flash so it’s pretty grainy. I’ll try to upload a better version when I get time to take a good daylight photo – but that probably won’t be till the weekend and I didn’t want to miss out on Illustration Friday!
One of my favourite books of all time is First Light by Richard Preston, which is about the Hale Telescope (and is a fascinating read for anyone interested in astronomy). One of the passages that stuck with me was this:
“There is a saying among those who polish astronomical mirrors for a living that an optician never finishes a mirror – you take it away from him.”
I think that pretty much sums up how a painting like this is for me – I can’t guarantee the picture above is the final version because every time I walk past it I think about adding another brush stroke here or there, another layer or another detail.
I managed to remember to take pictures as I went for this one – here’s how it looked as it progressed: