Saturday, October 20, 2012
Here's a painting done with no preliminary pencil work. The grapes are starting to ripen, which is a process called veraison.
The light yellow green, pinks, purples and greens are floated onto the dry paper, with everything blending together as you lay it all down. Eventually all of the paper is wet but the white sky holes. Things get adjusted (darks added, colors strengthened) as the paper slowly dries. Areas of the paper are wetter than others, and as the darks and colors are put in, some areas will fuzz out where it's wet, and others will leave a nice crisp edge where it's dry. Still other areas will form blooms or back runs, as the wet wash tries to spread out into an area that has *just* dried and the pigment ends up settling in the valleys of the paper, unable to spread out any further. You can see a little bit of opaque pink purple that I dropped in while it was still wet on the upper left of the cluster. The opaque paint can be seen to have spread out into the wetness before it runs out of steam. It's all a delicate balance of paint thickness, amount of wetness, and the varying degrees of pressure caused by them, pushing and pulling against one another.
At some point I dried the paper completely and started putting in the crisp darks to indicate the individual grape shapes and leaf edges and branches.
It's 10" x 14" on cold pressed Arches.
It takes a bit of experience to work with the different degrees of wetness, but that's where the surprises come in and what makes it an improvisational piece as opposed to having everything predetermined. One could make this exact same painting 10 different times and come out with 10 different results, each satisfying in its own way. That's the beauty of watercolor!