Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Maine Event" (mixed media; 14" x 20")

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Here is an old painting of mine out of which I got a lot of mileage, since it was juried into The Art League American Landscape Show in 2000, and received the second place in the Potomac Valley Watercolorists Invitational Show in 2003.  You will be surprised at how it all got started.

First of all, it is not quite in my usual realistic style.  My foray into a semi-abstract art happened out of my thriftiness.  On a piece of a half-sheet watercolor paper, I had done a drawing of Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.  I didn't like it; instead I decided to paint fishing boats in Maine.  Unfortunately, I must have marred the paper with the pencil line, which became noticeable as I began to drop paints onto the water area.  Oops.  As the painting was going fine so far, I waited until the paper was bone dry, then connected the indented line, changing here and there to make the dark shape interesting.  (As you can sort of tell, I had turned the paper upside down when I started the second project.)

The painting proceeded in the usual watercolor fashion--layers of darks on lighter shapes.  But when it was done, something was missing.  It felt empty and boring.  I brought out my big box of colored pencils and began to add dots--I went pointillist.  After thousands of dots, the painting glowed, partly because of the wax in colored pencils, but mostly thanks to many dots scintillating against the water--light against dark, dark against light, complementary colors, and so on so forth.  The pointillist masters such as Georges Seurat knew all about it.  A friend of mine tells me that she dreams about "Maine Event."

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