Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Koi in progress




You don't know how hard it is for me to show unfinished work! As I've said before, it goes against my very private artist's nature and my training, too, BUT this blog is about all the aspects of the making of art about water and the processes involved, so here we are.

What I love about koi as subject matter is that, in painting them, I can give free play to my love for calligraphic shapes, my attempts to render movement and energy, and my passion for the physical qualities of paint and painting surface.

Painting koi in water is a revelatory experience. It is a meditative experience. It is challenging, and it is, above all, and shockingly, fun! Since I am not a natural painter in the way I am a natural draftsman, I don't often feel that painting IS fun. But when it is going well, there's nothing so gratifying to me.

In the first two paintings above, you'll see my struggles with opacity and transparency in rendering water using acrylic paints. This struggle will be ongoing over the next months as I continue this series. But I welcome the struggle. I'm learning from it. This is what I mean about the revelatory nature of this project.
I've begun a series of small studies (about 5" x 7") to give me quick ways to explore various palettes, various acrylic mediums to add for texture and flow and transparency, various compositions, and to help me define the shape, form, movement inherent in MY approach to this subject. I'll make 30 of these, one daily when I can, in addition to continuing to work on my large pieces. I have 6 or 7 larger pieces going right now!. Here are the first three studies. They are VERY loose, very coarse. They're exactly what I need!


These issues of transparency, opacity, texture, and wateriness have been with me for a long while. Here is (a very bad photo of) one of a series of paintings I made around a lotus theme in 2005. It may be that I'll move back to a more abstracted style such as this. It may not. I trust the koi to show me the way.

13 comments:

Katherine Tyrrell said...

The one that demanded I lick it to look at it bigger was the green one in the middle!

Good for you for trying out different media and different approaches. Also I'm not always a happy bunny when I have a brush in my hand so really appreciate what it must feel like rught now!

sue said...

I like each of these for different qualities--they're wonderful, Laura. I can feel their movement through these waters. Love these colors, too!

Jeanette said...

I think you have a lot of movement in your pieces. Its something I notice in all your sketches or paintings - those seemingly simple lines that give life.

I think studies are perfect for working out the 'kinks' before tackling something more serious. You can figure out mediums, techniques, values, palettes, all without stress, then go into something feeling strong about tackling it.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thank you for showing your unfinished work Laura! It is so enlightening to see these stages and processes. While I would be very happy to have any of these beautiful rhythmic studies on my walls, I'm very interested to see how you develop them. It's also encouraging to hear that you 'welcome the struggle', as one who gives up all too easily when things (especially painting) aren't going well, I'm thinking I need to challenge myself more after seeing this.

Laureline said...

Thank you so much, ladies. Katherine, I'm actually having a good time with these. I've been painting for years but it NEVER comes easily.
Jeanette and Sue, I'm so glad that you 'get' the movement in these pieces. The practice of making studies was not part of my art training (which was very anti-academy) so I'm really just realizing how useful and fun (there's that word again) they are.
Cathy, I figure the only way to get better is to keep at the struggle. Once I set my mind to 'no expecations' for any given piece, I'm free to paint without stress. Without as much stress ;D.

fairyform said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vivien said...

a wonderful sense of movement - I especially like the second one, so fluid and so unfussily achieved :>)

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Wonderful studies laura...my favourite is the second dark blue one with the transparencies you caught beautifully on the bodies moving!
ronell

Judybec said...

beautiful Laura-- I love the way you've made them all "feel" so slippery and wet!

geraldo roberto da silva said...

Fantastic! I like very much!
http://geraldorobertodasilvaobras.blogspot.com/

JRonson said...

Oh God this works r amazing :O !!

great tecnhic and purity, i love the themeeee, wonderful wonderful, i will follow u for sure

Lindsay said...

OHHHH Very brave of you to post the WIPs. And they are so lively and lovely. I like your idea too of using 5x7 format for experimentation.

Sarah Wimperis said...

I love these Laura, very much looking forward to seeing them progress, at the moment they are wonderfully fluid...good for fish I guess!