Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tricks to break through a painter's block

Wire drawing (7" x 10"). "The Hikers"
This is the sketch that I used for a reference for a pure watercolor painting.   I hadn't done a pure watercolor for a year, so it didn't surprise me when I failed at the first attempt.  I'm starting to really love acrylics, but the deadline for the Transparent Watercolor Society show is coming up, and since I'm a lifetime member, it doesn't cost me anything to try to be juried in each year.  I do have my signature membership, but it's still such a great challenge to try to get in!  So, here I am, trying to remember how I used to get such glowing colors.  Here's what I did to get out of my slump.
  1. Go back to what you know.  Do whatever you used to do that was so easy and foolproof.  For me, it is little abbeys.  You can look back at earlier blogs to see them.  Just put a search in for Little Abbeys. I love them because they remind me of the way that I should be painting all of my paintings.  Starting at your center of interest with bright colors, working towards the edges.  Saving your whites for sparkle.  Weaving a unifying color from the center of interest towards the edges.  Lastly, staging your center of interest with a darkest dark and then changing to a less dark color as you approach the edges.  Keep the edges simple and keep the whitest white near the center of interest.  Those are my rules for Little Abbeys (small abstract collages). (Look back to June 13, 2015 for directions for little abbeys.)
  2. Use limited colors
  3. Use limited shapes
  4. Think cool or warm as the dominant washes and then add pops of the opposite color later within the light pathway.
  5. Trust your value sketch and keep the light pathway connected.
I'm not going to post my failure, but below are my 2 small paintings that I did AFTER I went through the above rules. Now, I think I'm ready to do the big quarter sheet painting next.  These 2 paintings are 7" x 10".

Too many small shapes, but interesting colors
Good design but I miss the bright colors. 


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