Monday, October 2, 2017

Canyon Wall

"Canyon Wall'
Image size 10.5" x 21.5"

I've been feeling sad that my watercolor roots have been largely ignored over the past year because I've fallen in love with encaustic.  This past weekend, Watercolor West started their yearly series of watercolor demonstrations that are offered during their annual international juried watercolor exhibition.  I am fortunate that this show is in my area and I look forward to it every year.  I didn't enter any paintings this year because I had nothing that I felt would be good enough to be chosen.

The first demonstration each year is my favorite because the juror of the show is the demonstrator and before he does his demo, he shows slides of all of the paintings that were juried into the show and tells why each was chosen.  What a wonderful education!  Of course, each judge has different reasons for choosing a painting, but it is still always good to hear what a judge likes.

I didn't really have time to attend on Sunday and almost didn't go, but I felt that it would be a good way to push me toward returning to watercolor.  Although I didn't stay for the afternoon portion when the juror,  John Salminen, demonstrated his painting style, I still learned a lot from him and am once again motivated to put watercolor paint to paper and use the unique qualities of those paints in a (hopefully) creative way. 

This painting was done on a saturated piece of paper.  One of the qualities that I love in watercolor paints that cannot be found in any other medium is the sedimentary action of some pigments.  That doesn't happen with all of the colors, but the ones that have that quality are among my favorites.
Daniel Smith makes a lot of colors that are very sedimentary because they use a lot of natural pigments which have heavy particles that fall into the valleys in the textures of watercolor paper.  My favorites are Lunar Earth and Lunar Black.  Lunar Earth is a rust colored pigment that is so beautiful alone, but can also be mixed with other colors to get that wonderful sedimentary effect.  I know using straight black in art is not recommended, but I use it anyway because I love the color black, especially in abstract paintings.  It can also be mixed with any color to take advantage of that wonderful textural quality that it has.

I used those two pigments along with ultramarine blue, another sedimentary color, to create a feeling of heavily textured canyon walls in this painting.  Other colors were mixed in and melded with the sedimentary colors to create this effect.  Here is a detail of the painting.  It might look more yellow because I just took a picture of it, but had to do it inside under incandescent light because the sun has set here.  Anyway, it shows the wonderful sedimentary qualities that can be achieved with these particular paints.

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