(June 2012 – this painting is now available for purchase through the Coos Art Museum – Rental Sales Gallery; contact Liv Drahos at www.coosart.org)
watercolor and gouache
22 x 30
Every year I have unfinished paintings. These are the paintings that I start on location then stall out in knowing what to do next to finish them. They become my winter projects, I sort through the stack and pick one that I think I see how to finish or maybe just like well enough that I would like to finish it!
The other day I pulled this one. I remember the day I started it and the comments a friend made who stopped by to remind me not to completely paint out all the beautiful white shapes developed by leaving areas of paper without paint. I had been working my way across the water trying to figure out how to capture the movement and color but in fact was just loosing some of the best part. I quit at that point leaving a large triangular shape that had negative shape development in the white of the paper. The rest was very much over painted and dark.
I pulled the painting and went straight to the tub! I use the shower head to thoroughly hose down the painting, taking it as far back to white paper as possible. This leaves the original drawing idea in a ghostly array of subtle tones and hues. It never returns completely to white paper except where there was no paint applied.
Once I had done away with the excessive paint I began again with a better eye to where I was going. The painting was begun in 2009 and I have made some progress in my abilities. I reworked the rock formations, simplifying the shapes and developing the gradations I needed to give them clearer form. I added nothing as the original layout was still to my liking. I stayed with my original color idea but developed it differently, using glazing and subtleties I wasn’t capable of then.
I did work all over the piece, even in the precious white zone but stayed with the idea of keeping that zone open and developing the other areas to balance it.