In my Thursday art class we are encouraged to exactly replicate a picture from a supplied photograph. Dutifully, I duplicate the demonstration: background wash, then careful detail of the main subject until the entire paper is covered. Several new, interesting, techniques have been acquired.
Hard though I tried, I did not manage to catch my creative heart before it sank to the depths of my boots each week. Although each picture I’ve produced may have been technically correct, the results rendered me miserable. So that’s why you haven’t seen any of them.
Show me a picture that appears unfinished and I’m excited. I want to make the paint dance on the paper – my pictures to look spontaneous, loose, raw and expressive. Less is more. If I HAVE to put in background detail, it must be minimal.
Easier said than done. Here’s one of the cards I made to wish my friends a ‘hoppy birdie’. Looks simple? This was my eighth attempt. But, with plenty of excellent, helpful advice from my art teacher, (Doh! It’s amazing what happens when you actually communicate properly with a person, rather than expect them to mind-read) I achieved what I was after in the end and I’m pleased with this picture at last.
Using the unpredictable wet in wet technique I first painted the entire shape of the bird’s pencil-drawn body with water. Then I lightly traced a brush loaded with pale yellow along the edge of the bird’s tummy, turned the paper upside down and watched as the yellow found it’s way towards the head, fading as it traveled. I added a splodge of darker yellow, a dab of orange and finally yellow ochre. Pleasingly, they melded together without much persuasion. Once dry I pulled the image together with dark brown ink.