"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, July 31, 2017

31 days of color--watercolor thoughts

Colors of July, with Sophie and Snoops as art critics
Thirty-one paintings in 31 days. 
I almost made it. One day was a complete failure, but I made up for it the next day with two. And toward the end of the month, including today, I painted ahead--three birthday cards.
Last night, I felt withdrawal for not picking up a paintbrush. Maybe today?
But the WorldWatercolorMonth challenge paid off in several ways. Every artist, athlete, and professional knows you get better if you're consistently producing, or trying to produce. The days you don't, your craft, your work, suffers. 
This blog, which has been suffering, improved. My painting actually inspired by writing, rather than the other way around.
The challenge gave me direction amid all the business of everyday life. It also gave joy to people.
There are four missing before I took this photo--one was a birthday gift, two were sold and one a birthday card.  I've inserted two--one a mountain snow scene done  one day but not posted because I wasn't happy about it. The other the red-headed cowgirl, actually done in late June, but hey, why not.
What I learned-

  • I need more color, more vibrant color, in my paintings, and you saw some of this as the month advanced.
  • I started off slowly, searching. Some days were difficult, others almost magic.
  • Like writing, painting leads you places you hadn't expected--thus the abstracts.
  • I started every day with "Paint what you feel," and sometimes that was the most difficult.
  • I'm most pleased with some of the abstracts, and also the series of the Oklahoma barn--perhaps even the Dust Bowl, a cross between representational and abstract.
  • I have paired poetry and writing before, but it helped to have poetry and writing in mind to focus on what I feel. Thus Frost, Whitman and Conrad.
  • Conversations with friends help provoke paintings and feelings.
  • The more you paint, the more you experiment--with color, composition and form.
  • Painting small is easier than large, in some ways, but sometimes more difficult.
  • I have favorites and disappointments. The Santa Fe Trail painting was a disappointment.
  • There will be failures--some paintings required two or three attempts. You didn't see the failures.
  • Disappointments, failures, can lead to successes. I will repaint some of them.
Favorites? Dust Bowl, Bluebonnet Dreams, Cosmos, As Time Slips Away, Choices in a Yellow Wood, Heart of Darknewss. You'll have to scroll back onthe blog to see those.


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