SHAZAM – A Unique APPROACH

Shazam, a unique watercolor by Woody Hansen

 Shazam  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.

SHAZAM – A UNIQUE APPROACH

What helps make a painting special, or unique? Furthermore, how would one go  about developing uniqueness? Ask several people in the field of art and you will receive many different answers. You will come away with little agreement. Art is, after all highly subjective. There are many avenues on the road to uniqueness. What follows is just one of those avenues.

First, let’s define what is meant by the word, unique. According to the Meriam-Webster dictionary,  unique is, “…Something or someone that is unlike anything or anyone else; very special or unusual; belonging to or connected with only one particular thing, place, or person.”

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THE PROCESS MATTERS

To label something unique is not necessarily a positive or negative comment on its artistic or professional worthiness. Something can be poorly crafted, or visually chaotic, yet each is unique in a negative way. For the purpose of this post, we’ll attempt to take the high road.

In the case of Shazam, it is not necessarily the end result that is unique; it is the process that is unique. Is there something to be learned from the process? Can the reader adapt this method to create his own unique work of art? Read on.

NEVER GIVE UP

First, it is best to never discard, tear up, or in any way destroy those paintings we personally, and shortsightedly, deem as clinkers, stinkers, dogs, etc. Save them dear friend, save them. We all have them, some of us have more than others. Carefully place these stinkers in a stack for reflection weeks, months, or even years from now. In time, some of these discards might turn into unique jewels in waiting. Time heals all failed watercolors, for failure does not have to be permanent.

Shazam, began on October, 21, 2011. Its original life ended in a matter of hours, or days. It was deemed a failure. It was not touched again until about two weeks shy of three years when it began its resurrection. At that point, it was only a ;matter of days before it was finished and signed with much personal satisfaction.

LIVE ANOTHER DAY

I no longer recall why I was originally dissatisfied with the painting, nor do I recall if the initial attempt was one of abstraction, or non-objectivity. It matters not the original intention, only the final outcome matters. The best thing I did years ago, was to have the good sense to set the painting aside to possibly live another day.

What if in a state of anger, dissatisfaction, or depression I had permanently destroyed it? What if, at the time, my inability to carry it to an acceptable conclusion those many years ago? The lesson learned is to avoid the temptation to think of one’s work as inadequate, unworthy of even lining the proverbial birdcage.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Shazam’s outcome, the initial stages of failure so many months ago provide the basis, the setup, the spring board  for what, to me, has become a satisfactory completion of the initial work. Along this theme, a couple of old songs of yesterday come to mind, High Hopes and Never Give Up.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

The title is an afterthought. The name is not derived from a current mobile application. Older readers, and some younger ones as well, might recognize the unintentional resemblance of the iconic, bright, yellow  symbol on the uniform of superhero, Captain Marvel, who has the ability to fight various forms of evil.

Captain Marvel LINK: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071050/The Old Philosopher:https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo.DZED5UGXoAKKH7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTEwZHVmbG5uBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE4MQRncG9zAzEw?p=the+old+song%2C+never+give+up+the+ship&vid=a20a67db0a72e8b9a517aa163cccdbef&l=3%3A11&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608045843329715418%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpOhKqWMhVVI&tit=%3Cb%3EThe+Old+%3C%2Fb%3EPhilosopher+Eddie+Lawrence&c=5&sigr=11avst5k9&sigt=119lqessa&age=0&&tt=b

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NMO ARGO – A Watercolor Progression

Watercolor progression photo #8 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen NMOmo Argo  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 1 – DEMONSTRATION

NMO Argo, begins on a half-sheet of 140-pound, cold press watercolor paper. In this particular case. work is accomplished on a level surface. A large, flat watercolor brush is loaded with Manganese Blue and Cyan, then the paint is encouraged to drip on areas of the paper, combined with a bit of a splattering and flicking motion.

The large brush, held by the tip of the handle, is slowly dragged over the surface during various stages of wetness. This is done in an attempt to create interesting shapes that  help to relate various parts of the composition to one another.

Paint is removed, scratched away, in a few selected areas. This is done to help create “repeats’  of similar marks in blue, and to open spaces and add interest. A brush handle is used to make rapid, assured,  scratch marks in three places.  These marks can be seen starting in the lower left area and progressing diagonally toward the upper right of the painting.

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Once the initial layer of paint dries, the same, large brush is used to, here and there, apply a light tint of the same colors as used previously. This further helps bring various areas together. NMO Argo, is allowed to dry once again before proceeding.

Work continues using a large, flat brush loaded with transparent, Magenta paint. This layer of Magenta color carves out a continuous shape, encompassing the bottom, left, and right areas of the composition.

The painting is thus divided in to two basic shapes with the larger shape dominating the smaller blue and white area in the upper portion of the main, 15 x 22 inch rectangle.

At this point a permanent, black ink pen is used to divide the dominate shape into three, linked shapes. To visually add variety to the three, relatively equal shapes a transparent layer of Cyan is applied to the left and right shapes. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #2 of 8 for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 2 – PUSHING A COLOR DOMINANCE

The red is warmed and further intensified by a combination of colors in two or three layers. Each layer is allowed to become bone dry before adding an additional layer. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #3, of 8 for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 3 – ADJUSTING SHAPE BALANCE ON THE LEFT

The large area on the left could stand some variety. How about that small shape in the lower left corner. What would happen if that color was intensified? To accomplish this with transparent watercolor, the existing paint must first be removed, lifted, from the area.

The small shape is ;masked off and the paint “lifted,”, while being careful not to overly disturb the hills and valleys of the paper surface. This procedure is done in about three stages, Each stage allowed to dry completely before continuing to the next, and so on.

The masking  is removed, and the shape is repainted a bright red, to closely match the larger middle section to the right, lower middle. The same red, value and hue is added to a small area in the left of the painting.

Now the eye is entertained by the place meant and size of the bright red areas. his is noticeable in the upper left, lower left, and lower middle of the painting. Next, surface variety and texture is heightened  by the addition of black line in the form of calligraphy. (see below).

Watercolor progression photo #4 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 4 – THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS?

There is something bothersome with the upper part of the lower, middle shape. How about overlapping and lengthening the direction of the black line at the upper end of the left side of that middle shape?

The obvious solution might be to extend the black line further by simply adding more line. However, using a contrasting white line might be more entertaining. How to go about that?

One solution might be to add a red shape divided by the continuation of a white line. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #5 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 5 – ADJUSTING SHAPE BALANCE 

How best to encourage the further development of NMO Argo? Two, of many, options are considered. The first option, is to allow the shape on the right to remain as is and develop the diagonal downward thrust of the three, bright red shapes. This would allow for a purposely unbalance motif (see above). The other option is noticed by a class participant who asks, “What about developing the shape suggested in the upper right like you did in the lower left?” Could this be a case of two heads being better than one?

Either approach appears valid. Option one would create a desirable sense of informal balance, however this would seem to leave the right side of the painting less interesting and lacking the entertainment than the more formally balanced left side. Of course, there are positives and negatives to either choice. I decide in favor of the second option. Problem solving; exactly the kind of thing that makes painting enjoyable.

So, a decision is made to lift the implied shape in the upper right side to allow the color to be intensified using the method employed earlier with the smaller shape in the lower left side (see above, Stage 3).

After lifting the color, and before the mask is removed, the area is over-painted with me more intense red hue.  (below).

Watercolor progression photo #6 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 6 – CONTRAST AND ENTERTAINMENT

The basic hue of the larger, right and left shapes are changed from red to purple by adding a transparent layer of cyan over the red. NOTE: These two shapes, seen above, appear a darker value than what they were at the time of the photograph.

To add entertainment, a large, flat brush is loaded with transparent yellow. More opaque, Cadmium Yellow could have been used, but the yellow of choice in this case is a transparent, Lemon Yellow. Drips and splatter are added with care, stopping now and then to evaluate the overall pattern and effect.

The large, yellow drip in the lower right corner is an accident, but my, oh my, what a WONDERFUL accident. I could have removed it instantly with tissue. Years ago I most certainly would have. However, I have learned to embrace happy accidents. They are the jewels of painting. Contrary to popular, and much of academic opinion, there is simply no perfection in art. As Frank Webb asks, “Whose perfect?”

Try covering that yellow spot with your hand. Hopefully, you will agree how very, very important that happy accident is to the success of the painting. (see below)

Watercolor progression photo #7 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

DEMONSTRATION PROGRESSION, STAGE 8 – FINAL 

To help unify the yellow splatter, the same transparent yellow is applied over the predominately blue and white shape in the upper, center of the painting. The yellow layer placed over blue turns the blue to green and provides an attractive primary contrast of red against green, warm next to cool.

The yellow area also provided an additional primary counterpoint, contrast, conflict,  of yellow against purple, warm against cool, that visually stimulates and excites the eye. Ah, entertainment!  It is fascinating to note  how one color has the potential to energize, and positively affect, an entire painting.

Additional calligraphic line work is added to the yellow-green shape specifically, and to a few  other areas in the  painting as well. Next, various color areas of the painting are intensified by adding additional layers of related, intense color .

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with this watercolor.

Watercolor progression photo #8 of 8, for NmoArgo, watercolor by Woody Hansen

PERSONAL THOUGHTS

I’ve commented on various methods of titling paintings in previous posts, so I’ll only note that this title is typical for me, in that it  came after the work was completed.

In the process of giving the work a title I became fascinated by that little shape in the bottom, left of the painting. After the fact, it reminds me, ironically of a slightly misshapen bug of some kind that unnoticed, ever so slowly creeps upward on its journey of destruction. Or, could it simply be on a journey of discovery? So, we ponder the old, question, “Is the glass half full, or is it half empty?”

Not wishing to be melodramatic, I must note that Nmo Argo, unexpectedly ends up being a work of unique, personal meaning. It began without a plan, without a direction, but evolved in a way that cannot be duplicated. It is not an abstract painting, it is a non-objective painting that came from I know not where. It is a painting, not an illustration. During its creative journey it evolved beyond my greatest expectations. That’s how I feel about it tonight. Tomorrow might be an entirely different story.

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TWISTED TREE 2014 – Original Watercolor

Image of Twisted Tree 2014, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen Twisted Tree 2014  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.

THE CREATIVE PROGRESSION OF TWISTED TREES 2014, IN EIGHT STEPS

STEP 1

I observe the potential of a very large piece of watercolor paper which serves to protect the table tops of the classroom area. This piece in particular has many marks that have resulted over weeks, even months of student painting. The marks are of a random variety, a form of scattered painting residue. Some marks are pure accident, unplanned, without forethought. This will be the basis, the creative foundation for what becomes, Twisted Tree 2014.

After carefully selecting a smaller area, the larger paper is trimmed to half sheet size (15 x 22). This will be the starting point of the painting.  Now what to do? Is there a plan, an idea, a sketch, a direction in mind? Will the approach to Twisted Tree 2014,  be abstract or non-objective? The answer is “no,”for the former, and “yes” for the latter. See below …

Watercolor Class
STEP 2 – PLAN OF ACTION

Though often creatively studied and given thought, this sheet of paper sits in a state of limbo for several weeks as other painting opportunities take PRECEDENT. Eventually, a plan of action  develops for ,Twisted Tree 2014.

At the end of each day in which we paint in class, participants dispose of their left over water  residue by dumping it into a larger container to be properly disposed of at a later time. Of course this water contains a multitude of colored pigments, that most often become a dark, muddy  residue. Over time the water (unfit for plants) evaporates. This results in the various pigments settling to the bottom of the container where they eventually return to powder form.

An idea forms. What if the muddy-colored powder, is combined with clear water, and then applied to the aforementioned piece of paper? Might this make the beginning of an interesting painting demonstration? With this process in mind, the biggest hurdle is overcome. Time to turn thought into action.

STEP 3 – THE BEGINNING

,The beginning process of Twisted Tree 2014, is that of creating interesting “marks on paper. Thought is given to the few initial strokes, their direction, and possible free-form results. Then, with the paper and board level, without hesitation the strokes are made, dripping wet paint onto dry paper.

The first strokes of Twisted Tree 2014,are made quickly, without hesitation, yet slow enough so  the marks will likely avoid a break, and have in a linear, or line quality about them. The painting board is then tilted at various angles to allow the paint to run, to find its own path. The process is that of suggestion, to facilitate, to encourage, but not to expect total control.

STEP 4 – THE PROCESS

Next, the brush is held in a vertical manner, point down,and held at various positions while encouraging the paint to drip from the belly of the brush to its tip and onto the paper below. The size of the drips can be somewhat controlled by the distance between brush tip and paper. A few, quick, diagonal scratch-like marks are made  to open up the larger, round drip in the lower, upper right quadrant of the painting. See below …Watercolor Class
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer STEP 5 – THE MOTIF

To this point in the process the approach is thought of as being non-objective in nature. However, the basis of a possible landscape becomes apparent. Almost instantly, non-objectivity is jettisoned. A decision is made to further develop the painting toward a landscape motif, or what will become, Twisted Tree 2014.

With the addition of calligraphy, the large, slightly diagonal, vertical mark on the left side of the paining becomes a solid, mature tree trunk., while the mark on the right side becomes a spindly, airy, smaller, but determined, tree shape. Contrast. See below …

watercolor
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer
STEP 6 – DOMINANCE 

The dominate color of Twisted Tree 2014, is warm yellow. This dominance, this exaggeration, is further enhanced by the application of yellow hued paint, in selected areas of the painting. The faint, gray, suggestion of a mountain shape is applied  to the background, along with addition of decorative, loose, calligraphic line work. Additional line work can be seen in the tree areas, and in the suggestion of an imaginary fence line along the horizon. See  below …

watercolor
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer
STEP 7 – ADJUSTMENTS

A cooler, yellow sky is added to Twisted Tree 2014. Selected areas are intensified with the use of transparent, yellow, orange, red, and gray hues. Sky ;and mountain shapes make use of the powerful principle of gradation. The areas around the three,larger, dark, circular shapes are masked off. Then,  to open up those flat, looking circular areas, or shapes, opaque white is drizzled, light over dark.  Care is taken to make sure the white drizzles are loosely contained within the intended areas of the composition. See below …

Progression image of Twisted Tree 2014 by  Woody Hansen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                         Photo by Linda Sauer
STEP 8 –FINAL EVALUATION

As is the case in several of the previous steps, the painting is set aside, allowed to dry, studied, and evaluated  over time. Areas are then lightened, darkened. Compositional adjustments are made with the use of value, color and calligraphy. See below…

Image of Twisted Tree 2014, an original watercolor by Woody Hansen

SUMMARY

The creation of Twisted Tree 2014, was an extremely pleasant experience. The painting may appear haphazard in application. However within the original free-form framework, there is more control and thought given to the process than what might first be noticed by the untrained – or even  the trained – eye. Watercolor is a wonderfully creative medium, if given it’s freedom to share in the act of artistic creation.

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THREE’S COMPANY – Original Watercolor

Woody Hansen Watercolor, Three's Company TITLE: Three’s Company – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.

ABOUT Three’s Company

Three’s Company begins on the basis of a black on white diagram left over from a class critique. Three’s Company slowly evolves into its present state of non-objectivity. Note the three circular forms amid the largest white shape. The circles are unique, in an otherwise angular composition.

ABOUT The Title

For identification purposes, it’s an accepted practice to give one’s work a title. There seem to be about three theories on how this is accomplished. Some believe it best to first decide on a title, and develop the painting from there. A second choice is to title a painting upon its completion. Then there are those who don’t believe in meaningful titles at all. Tis latter group prefers something like,”Untitled 1,”or, “Untitled 2,” etc.

Relative to Three’s Company, three personal thought processes come together to help me select a title. Some of the thoughts are (1) the aforementioned three circular forms, (2) several superstitions, and (3) one of the teaching methods of Edgar Whitney.

With regard to (1), an old “Three on a match” superstition, I recall my dad explaining to his young son the meaning of that phrase years ago. For some reason, Three’s Company triggered that memory. Interestingly, “Three on a match” has a long history. Follow this direct Wikipedia link to learn more.

 

As for the second thought, “Two’s company, and three’s a crowd,” Well, that thought is just too long for a painting title. I could have gone with, Three’s a Crowd, but that seemed too negative. However, considering the painting’s outcome, that might have been a much better, more appropriate title than Three’s Company. Should-a, would-a, could-a. It is, as the song title goes, Too late to turn back now.

Finally, there is the third thought of the great watercolorist and  instructor, Edgar (Ed) Whitney. Ed used the phrase, “Papa, Mama, Baby,” to encourage his students to employ variety (small, medium, and large) in all elements that make up a good composition. A few might think the phrase “cute,” or (today) politically incorrect. However, I happen to believe the phrase is a strong, clever, easy to remember teaching aid. Note  the three circles in Three’s Company are “Papa, Mama, Baby,” in size. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

So, three, unique circles, plus “Three on a match,” plus “Three’s Company,” plus “Papa, Mama, Baby,” morphs into the title, Three’s Company.

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JOYFUL PLACE – Original Watercolor

 A Joyful Place, Original Watercolor by  Woody Hansen TITLE: A Joyful Place – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.

A JOYFUL PLACE: THE BEGINNING

A Joyful Place, exists in an area nearby, yet far, far away, in the hippocampus, a storehouse of huge amounts of personal information, both useful and worthless. Simply put, A Joyful Place, exists only in the gray matter that houses my imagination.

 A Joyful Place, starts its journey in an early morning “Free Friday” outdoor session along Sacramento’s American River Parkway. In the beginning there is no preliminary pencil drawing, no preliminary value plan, nor color scheme. I face a blank sheet of white, 140 pound, dry, half-sheet (15 x 22) cold press watercolor paper, clipped to a board at each of four corners.

THE PROCESS

A combination of brushes are used during the creation of A Joyful Place, including a three inch, one and a half inch, a one inch, a quarter inch, Webb Liner, and a medium sized round brush. With an exception or two, work progresses from larger to smaller brushes.

Without a subject in mind, A Joyful Place, begins by randomly selecting a color and using that color to start painting imaginary shapes.   Working with light, transparent values, the goal is the creation of an interesting, non-objective design, or marks on paper. At this point the thought process is focused entirely on the positive and negative design inside the 15 x 22 inch rectangle.

As A Joyful Place, evolves, shape and value consideration is similar to chess in that one attempts to think several moves ahead, while keeping in mind that each value has a direct bearing on the next, and the next, and the one after that, etc. Thought is given to creating pleasing shapes of various values and sizes.

The outdoor portion of what will eventually become A Joyful Place, ends in an unfinished, unresolved state, the same morning in which it begins. The painting is set aside to dry in the warm, morning shade, and another painting begins. Then, to beat the heat, it’s back to the studio environment shortly before noon.

LAW OF PARSIMONY

The following Wednesday, A Joyful Place (still untitled), is selected as a class demonstration.  As the painting progresses, a suggestion of a landscape becomes apparent.  I like to think of this as the painting “talking” to me, telling me where it wants to go. So, with the Law of Parsimony in mind, I abandon non-objectivity, and begin working toward the suggestion of a lush, landscape.

A Joyful place (before), watercolor by Woody Hanssen
Photo courtesy of Linda Sauer

With much of the light an middle values indicated, I feel a need for the addition of calligraphy as a way of further defining and describing shapes that are recognizable as flora, while leaving a somewhat restful area in the middle of the composition.

A Joyful Place, Original Watercolor by Woody Hansen

Using a permanent, felt, black ink pen, the calligraphy of A Joyful Place, is done quite rapidly, while moving somewhat randomly throughout the painting. Prior to beginning the calligraphy, I decide to heighten the use of overlapping planes by using a fine point tip for the middle and background and a broader tipped pen for the foreground.

As an aside, I’ll mention that I use two types of felt tipped permanent, black ink pens, a fine point and a broad (chisel point. I also use a broad felt pen, and brush to apply watercolor line of various hues I use the tools separately, and sometimes in combination. I usually favor the felt tipped pens when I want to apply the line quickly and with a maximum amount of directional freedom.

To my way of thinking, the nature of the felt tip encourages rapid change of direction while maintaining uniformity of line. The brush tends to encourage a slower approach, while offering a larger variety of line quality. Of course hand pressure and speed of movement alters line quality regardless of pen or brush. In short, I try to use the tool of choice for the job at hand.

After the calligraphy comes a final adjustment of compositional shape, value, color, and one of the fun parts of painting, that of determining an eventual title.

THE TITLE

I get a happy feeling from this painting. Oddly, a favorite, Ray Bradbury movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes, comes to mind. However, with the replacement of one word the title might be, Something Happy This Way Comes, but I like to keep painting titles short. How about, A Happy Place? No, that title already exists. How about changing the word, “happy,” to “joyful?” Okay, the title becomes A Joyful Place. Score two, for the Law of Parsimony!

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WRINKLED WARRIORS – Original Watercolor

Wrinkled Warrior, an image of an original, one of a kind watercolor by Woody HansenTITLE: Wrinkled Warrior – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.

THE WRINKLED WARRIORS CHALLENGE

Would you take a new, expensive BMW sports car off the lot, drive it to the nearest salvage yard and place it in a Car Crusher? Of course not, but I’m about to suggest you try something like that with expensive watercolor paper. Are you up to the challenge of Wrinkled Warriors?

From time to time, those of us who paint feel a need to work outside the box, to go where few choose to go, to break away from the established norm. After all, creativity demands invention, risk, experimentation. aThere are those who when faced with safety or adventure, choose adventure. These are the artists among us. Without a doubt, the Wrinkled Warriors approach is an adventure well worth trying.

Obviously, adventure can be risky and in many cases even ill advised. However, the risk here involves little more than time and a relatively small investment of paint and paper. In the case of a painting like Wrinkled Warriors I think it fair to note the potential far outweighs the risk.

THE PROCESS

1. Start with 140 pound, cold press paper.

2. With a sponge or large brush (flat or round), completely cover one or both sides of the paper with clean water.

3. After allowing a few minutes for the paper to absorb the moisture, lay in a flat, light value wash. Use the Principle of gradation to paint vertically from light-light value at the top of the paper to dark-light value at the bottom.

4. After allowing the paper to dry completely, re-saturate both sides with clear water (tub, shower, or garden hose).  The paper is  ready at the point at which it is as limp as a wet wash cloth.

5. Screw up your courage and aggressively compress this sheet of expensive paper into the tightest ball possible. Unfold, and compress it again. Squeeze as much water out of it as your strength allows. Most watercolor paper is tough, it can handle the abuse

6. Carefully unfold the paper into its natural shape, gently press the surface to partially flatten it, then clip the paper to some type of painting board. When the paper is bone dry it is ready to receive paint, wrinkles and all. The wrinkles will give the surface an appealing texture.

FURTHER NOTES;

In the case of Wrinkled Warriors, I began by washing off what I thought was a failed painting. The gradated wash mentioned above (step 3) was what remained. Some time later I used this piece of paper for the basis of a classroom demo.

As a guide I begin with a monochrome, newspaper photo (politicians) turned upside down. The work is done directly on the paper without a preliminary pencil or ink outline. I place the first medium dark shape with two, bold strokes of a three-inch brush, after-which I set the photo aside, not to be used again.

This first shape eventually becomes the large, tree form on the right. At this point, my only intention is to create a non-objective painting of bold shapes. After a few more strokes with the large brush, I begin to see and imagine tree forms and decide to push the painting in an abstract mode rather than the original, nonobjective approach.

While thinking “marks on paper,” Wrinkled Warriors is completed  with calligraphic marks in the form of texture, line, etc.

FINAL NOTES

Using wrinkled paper offers a challenging, but different approach to painting with watercolor. Beyond the obvious, abusing paper in this manner creates a more absorbent, almost blotter like surface on which to work.

The Wrinkled Warrior, approach lends itself to bold, shape painting rather than a tighter, more realistic presentation. Frankly, I find the final, actual wrinkled appearance more appealing than that captured by the average camera, natural light, and the Internet.

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HEAD TRIP – Original Watercolor

Head Trip, Original, One-Of-A-Kind Watercolor by Woody HansenTITLE: Head Trip – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.

HEAD TRIP

Head Trip is based on personal mental imagery. The painting process begins on dry paper without a preliminary pencil, black  ink drawing, or value plan. It is a class demonstration to illustrate we need not always pre-plan our paintings. Sometimes, it is beneficial to begin cold, an develop the painting as it progresses through several stages of development. Relative to success, the risk is high, but so is the gain if one can pull it off. It’s a bit like flying by the seat of your pants,  through mental images without a net. Thus, the title, Head Trip.

The original motif, or intention of Head Trip is that of creating a non-objective painting. However, as is often the case, as the painting evolves i begin to see a suggestion of subject matter. So, Head Trip slowly develops into an abstract painting. I offer no apology for that. If I get the sense that any painting begins to speak to me, I usually make it a point to try to listen.

After some time, I end up with a colorful painting, but a painting without strong design, more of an over-all pattern. (below)Head Trip 1, Original, One-Of-Kind Watercolor by Woody Hansen

While colorful—perhaps even cheery—this version of Head Trip, seems to lack structure and substance. Most of the shapes are the same size and predominately the same value. There are, however suggestions of larger shapes within the confines of the rectangle. In an effort to give Head Trip more variety and interest, hopefully better design, the next, and final stage is to use value to bring out larger shapes with improved contrast.

Experience has taught me that some viewers will like the first version of Head Trip, others will prefer the second version.

ADDENDUM: Upon serious reflection, I might have been wise to stick with the brighter version. Perhaps the lesson here is to be careful not to over think a painting. Now, because I chose to lay darker washes over areas of the original, brighter, more colorful painting, my alternatives are limited. I can either accept the painting  as it is, or wash and scrub-out most of the colorant start over. This time I choose to let it remain as is. It serves as a reminder, no matter how long one paints, the truth remains that perfection simply does not exist.

HAPPY MOTHER/SDAY, MOM!

Mother's Day ImageTHE WORLD’S TOUGHEST JOB

This video answers the question, “What’s the world’s toughest job?” It does this by  offering random job applicants imaginary employment with unbelievable requirements, not the least of which is no pay! The reactions of the applicants are priceless and sobering.

Forget the Mother’s Day card, gift, roses and candy. instead show Mom this video. Okay, okay, after showing her the video…THEN give her the Mother’s Day card, gift, roses and candy.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, 2014!

 

FRESH AIR – Original Watercolor

Image of Fresh Air, watercolor by Woody HansenTITLE: Fresh Airt – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″ To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image.

FRESH AIR

Bright, intense colors, combine to make a dominent  warm color scheme bring to mind favorite places of interest to people of various backgrounds and economic status. However, most will probably agree that the overall feeling of Fresh Air, despite perceived visual subject matter is one of clear, clean, fresh air.

The subject matter of Fresh Air is not as it may appear. Fresh Air, the watercolor is a painting not specifically descriptive of any one place in the world. This particular watercolor is an amalgam of images scattered here and there in my memory.

What you see is an assortment of shapes, silhouettes, suggesting images similar to mountains, posts, trees, plants, rocks, weeds, etc. This type of approach,–ranslation– allows the viewer to use his own imagination, to participate in the construction, or the suggestion of a scene unique to one’s personal interpretation.
Finally, a note that Fresh Air was created–as the saying goes, before a live, classroom audience. If you would like to try your hand at watercolor painting, or to take your current skills to the next level, I invite you to register for an upcoming class. Details HERE.