Is the NASDAQ Up Today? (watercolor on paper, 22×30) by Wendy Hill
I fell in love with watercolor when I first became aware of it. It was loose, colorful and fresh. But my occupation as a medical illustrator left me feeling tied to detail, with the result that my first watercolors were extremely tight and packed with many small and unnecessary additions. While I painted, a battle surged within my brain: My rational problem-solving mind tended to be objective and logical, but the other side of my brain wanted to experiment. I set out with the mission of loosening up my style.
I started by dripping color over a wet surface, freely applying spatters in order to get away from the tightness of my previous paintings. Then I borrowed textures from objects, which I pressed onto the surface. The result was a spontaneous and exciting approach to painting backgrounds that led me to the discovery of my own watercolor voice. With each tool that I add to my process, I feel that I’m expanding my watercolor vocabulary. Tea bags, coffee filters, sponges, leaves, paper, plastic wrap and salt are all simple tools that have brought excitement and a sense of fun to my work.
Deciding how to handle the background can sometimes be the most difficult part of making a painting. Try a loose application of these tools—and others of your own invention—to liberate and invigorate your own process. You may find your watercolor style along the way.
Use a loose application of tools such as tea bags and coffee filters to stain your surface and create a spontaneous background. Then take advantage of the design on the surface to define, intensify or exaggerate the subject of your painting.
Send us your Creativity Workshop Activity for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from Jerry’s Artarama. Send a JPEG image (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your painting to email@example.com or send a disc to Watercolor Artist, Creativity Workshop, Experiment Activity, 4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati OH 45236. The deadline for entry is July 3, 2008.