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 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.

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