Imagined Landscape – A Short How-To

I woke up in a really bad mood today, so I thought I’d see if the imagined landscapes could be an instant pick me up, and since I was repeating the process, I figured I’d do more of a tutorial post.

You can see my supplies in the photo above. I’m using Canson Heritage Hot Press paper, which is 100% cotton and this pad cost $20 for 12 sheets. As I mentioned yesterday, I try to have the mindset, it’s just paper, but when a sheet of paper costs nearly $2.00 a sheet, it’s hard not to think of it as precious. But, watercolor is hard enough, and it’s even harder if you don’t use the right tools for the job. For this painting session, I chose to use Mayan Blue, Yellow Ochre and Van Dyke Brown, a mixture of Daniel Smith and Windsor & Newton colors. I’m about to paint with a credit card, so the brushes aren’t that important. You just need a brush capable of wetting the entire page thoroughly.

So, after gathering my supplies, and taping down my expensive paper, I then wet the top of the page, and parts of the bottom. The paper now looks like this:

Where it’s shiny, that’s the water, and that’s where the paint will go. And there ends your control over whatever is going to happen. Where there’s water, the paint will flow. The end.

So here we go – I then loaded up my credit card with the three colors of paint:

I couldn’t photograph the next part – the swooshing of the card across the horizon line, and the flowing of the paint into the water. I thought about doing a video, but then that would mean uploading it to youtube, and I don’t really want to be on youtube. I tried having a knitting channel on youtube, and I just didn’t want to do the things it takes to make it successful – like even talk about it. The fact is I’m a lawyer, and by day, I have to maintain a professional persona. It’s nice to have hobbies, but clients can google, and that’s not a part of my life I want out there exactly. It’s hard to explain, since I have been blogging, albeit irregularly, for over ten years. But, there’s something different about video. So, no video.

Watching the paint flow wasn’t as satisfying today as it was last week when I made my original paintings. Is the thrill over? I don’t know. I think I’m just in a bad mood. It happens. I think creation and mood definitely go hand in hand. I think that’s why historically writers thought they wrote better if they were drinking. The probably didn’t write better, they just felt differently about it.

So, back to the work at hand.  Remember I said the paint goes where the water goes?  You can help it along.  As you can see I have my paper taped down to a board, nothing fancy, just an extra board I had left over from some packaging.  To help the water flow, you can tilt the board, turn the board around, swish side to side.  You can add more paint.  You can get out a spray bottle, and spray the paint, coaxing it where you want to go.

If you want to get totally mesmorized by all of this, check out Lena Gemzoe on youtube.  Her work is amazing.

In any event, after the magic of the paint hitting the water, this is what I had:

As you can see, my Mayan Blue and yellow ochre made some green, which is lovely. I do wish that some of the blue had remained, but oh well.

While that was drying I made another, this time with Paynes Grey instead of the Mayan Blue, a green (I can’t remember the name of the color), and a violet.

I lost most of the violet, although you can see it in the background. So, I let both pieces dry, although I could have go in and added grasses and what not while it was still wet, little details that can be made by manipulating the still wet paint.

I ended up not touching the first piece –

And the blue one, I saw a lake scene, so I tried to bring that out:

The trees definitely could use a bit more detail, and it looks a little imbalanced to me, but I really didn’t want to play with it any further while I’m not in the right mindset. We’ll see.

So, go ahead and give it a try! Yesterday I said it was a mood uplifter, and it definitely can be – but I guess you have to start with an ok to decent mood to start with, or at least a mood to create, because today, I just didn’t feel like making anything. So, at least I worked through that I guess!

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