Friday, June 30, 2017


Doing artwork means learning to let go of something you made that becomes precious to you, and also, learning to know when to stop. This month I've challenged myself to do a small postcard-sized painting each day. I also continue with my watercolor class which is teaching me a structured practice to make precise contour drawings, to look at form carefully, to create soft and hard edges, and to mix colors on the paper, not on my palette. My postcard-sized paintings are emotional and fast, layering colors and torn paper, and finding shapes in the abstract. These two opposite ways of art have been a good exercise for me and free me after intense concentration to help me let go of "precious."

In my class, I just started a painting of an onion. When I stopped for the day, I really liked what I had done. This is the hard part, especially if you are new to painting, to let go of what you've painted to continue to progress. Once I put paint to paper again, I know that I will mess up somewhere and I will lose that precious bit of painting. I tell myself, "It is only practice." I take a photo and then pick up my paint brush.

With my small paintings, I must learn when to stop. They begin with splashes of color, layers of torn paper and other bits, a layer of gesso over that, sprays with acrylic ink or intense watercolor, gesso again, stenciling, acrylics, and calligraphy. Then maybe another wash of gesso. My intent is to find something within the painting to pull out and emphasize. Very often I find circular shapes that become the sun or moon and the rest of the painting becomes a landscape.

Or flowers.

Sometimes faces appear.

 Sometimes I just leave the paper to dry, use the painting as a background paper.  Again, sometimes these paintings don't work at all and they go into my pile that may be cut up for something else.

I love pieces of paper that I've used either as a paint palette or underneath another painting. They are spontaneous marks on the page. I often use them in the next painting. I think I'm going to have to do something about those two big blobs on the left side though. What do you think?

Mountain on Fire


  1. I think that I see those two dark blobs as a whole banana painted with banana yellow.
    Wish you were here in Paris.

  2. You make me laugh, Jan. Thanks. And wouldn't it be fun to be back in Paris again!

  3. It was fun to follow your thought process and how you challenge yourself.

    Thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend.


Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from readers. I answer each one.

I do not post Anonymous comments because of problems with spammers.