Watercolor is about the pigments, the paper and the water and the way these interact. It is a challenging medium. The pigment, dispersed in water and held, temporarily, within the brush, can explode wet-in-wet and move with the pull of gravity on the page. Or laid down, sharp edged, on dry paper, crisp and clear. And this has to be "managed" somehow. "Control" is sometimes beyond my grasp. The pigment is sucked into the fibers and then saturation and dry air bring it to a stop, locking the pigments in place. Gotta be quick. No room for error here. When it's down, it's down. It's a tough medium as a result. Wet-in-wet creates a look that is unique to watercolor. Add the fine control obtained with a dry brush approach and you can get great paintings. Learn to “reserve the whites” of your paper and you can get something worth looking at. Mess up your “management” of these things and get a mess.
In 5 square inches you can express a flower, a face or an entire sky. Light and shadow make representational images recognizable. Go bigger and the view can swallow the viewer. Mistakes loom large. But you gotta dive into that little puddle and take your chances.
To me, this is what makes painting worthwhile. Accept the challenge and try to distill what you see to strokes and dabs of pigments suspended in water. Whether that view is in front of you or entirely in your head. Representational or non representational. Doesn't matter.
All art is abstraction. And watercolor lends itself to abstraction, to simplification— begs for it really— but allows for fine detail as well.
When I pick up the brush, wash it in clear water and scrub it into a tiny pot of pigment to begin there is, for me, a level of anxiety. A desire to control the color and the stroke while knowing-- and appreciating-- that there will always be the water, the paper and the pigment, going their own way. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. Mistakes are the lessons. But when it does work, there is nothing else quite like it...
About Digital Composites
The art of photography and the art of illustration are combined using the power of the computer to render the photos as "paintings" and "illustrations." Photography and computers essentially merged with the advent of digital photography. The invention of Adobe Photoshop changed the landscape even further, relegating darkrooms and enlargers and those nasty chemicals to the junk pile. I was kinda late to digital photography but was an early adopter of the Macintosh. Not for Photoshop but for the ease of word processing for my profession as a lawyer. But Photoshop came into being and I had a look at it and have used it off and on ever since, as a way to satisfy creative urges.
I have always wondered what artists of the past would have done had they had such "instruments" available to them. Surely, they would have used them. And that's just what I'm doing. These works arose based upon a fascination with the powerful software tools made available on the computer and, more recently, as 'apps' on an Apple iPad. I fell in love with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, which is a simply mind boggling set of tools when used with the many apps available on the Apple IOS platform. So I began to explore the possibilities of creating the kind of layered composites-- abstracts, palimpsests-- that I have always wanted to do and admired when done by others, either digitally or using more analog means. These are the works shown here. All have multiple layers, merged over one another, using "modes' which define how one layer interacts with another. Something only available on a computer or iPad. Powerful. And fun. Once again, dive in...
I am a 72 year old work in progress. Still “under construction" and just getting started with painting in 2019 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in art in 1972, with a start on my art education that began in 1969. 50 years. That's a long time to look and think and study in preparation to put brush to paper. But that is some of what I did in the intervening years: study art, artists and techniques. A few abandoned starts are in there but I never stopped my personal study of artists and techniques. I am a perpetual student, curious and having fun. Ready to rock, as they say. Have a look at the images. That's all you really need to know.