Thursday, September 3, 2015

Day's End - Day Three of the 30/30 Challenge

Day's End, 
Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 6"h x 6"w, 2015 #5

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Day three of the challenge -- one of the goals I have for this 30/30 challenge is to try using as big a brush I can manage and carry the painting to as far a point as I could, as I did in the last painting, "Woodland Fall"; a second goal I have is to experiment with non-conventional brushes and surfaces without the worry of "failing", i.e., not turning out a beautiful little painting in the end. 

For this 6" x 6", I used primarily a slanted 1" stiff bristle brush to lay in the soft sky and foreground snow on very wet paper, and added gradually thickened pigments to create the distant mountain with fir trees as well as to establish the general shape of the snow-laden evergreens in the foreground before the paper dried. The advantage of bristle brush is, they really can pick up and carry a lot more pigment (especially if your pigment is not fresh squeezed out of a tube) compared to traditional watercolor brushes, even the stiffer synthetic haired ones. Another advantage of these brushes is that they have very jagged hair, hence it is absolutely futile to try to get any detail out of them when painting. One is thus forced to pay attention to the general tone, color and overall silhouette of each value shape, and design the bigger picture before putting in the details (which would require switching to a different type of brush). 

I did eventually switch to smaller bristle brushes to establish the darker crevices on the rocks, the branches of foreground fir, etc., and used a small rigger brush to suggest some bare branches of deciduous trees as well as shrubs, but most of the painting was done with the big 1" bristle that at times made me feel very awkward and not knowing what I was doing. Overcoming that awkward feeling was very liberating, since I know I am going beyond my own comfort zone, pushing myself to learn more and grow as a painter. The results is not always as exciting as the process itself, but in case of this little painting, I am feeling quite satisfied...


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