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.