I started this watercolor portrait over a year ago in my previous studio. Then I packed and moved, and forgot about it till I cleaned and purged the clutter in my current studio last week. (How many unfinished art projects do you have stuffed into cupboards and drawers and shelves?)
Part of the clean up last week involved mounting a foam-insulation panel (leftover from my daughter’s quilt wall design project) on one of my studio walls to tack art-in-process up, so I can work while standing, and step back to squint & check values, etc. I have a beautiful easel for that, but the footprint is too deep/big for this room, and I opted to clear the floor space, and work on the wall instead.
The wall-mounted art-surface worked great for stepping to and from, so I could get distance on the art in process. I still love working flat on my table, but I find with figurative work in particular, painting lost and found edges requires a step back, or stepping a whole room backwards with a reverse view in a mirror, and then some squinting. #artolympics I think we often forget that most art will be viewed at a distance, so it’s important to un-hinge from hovering over the surface, and step away. And squint. A lot. 🙂
I’ve been a huge fan of the late painter Ken Auster ever since I saw this painting. His design skills, color choices and mark-making scream the same message to me every time I look at his work: Paint More Often. There is no short cut to accomplished painting skills. When I look at Ken’s work, there are thousands of days worth of dedicated painting behind every color mix, every compositional layout and every stroke-shape of paint on his canvases.
His paintings move me to Get Back to Work. And the brilliance of his art reminds me to worry more about the process of my art-making, rather than fretting over the end-product. #cultivategoodhabits Ken died last January from prostate cancer at age 66. How much time do each of us get here, and which portion of that time do we decide to dedicate to art-making?
Plein-air painting is the perfect forum for learning how to use watercolor, as it is observation-driven. Placing technique secondary to observation is the essence of working the field.