fanfare

I set up this new blog, and now I’ve hardly been posting any entries! Well, I suppose that’s because I’ve been busy lately. Isn’t that always the case? Not only that, but I feel like I’ve been in a state of creative block. I haven’t had as many ideas for new work lately, and overall I’ve been lacking creative direction in my work.

That said, I did find the time late one night to doodle and little something, and then found the time late the next night to add watercolor to the doodle.

fanfare

For some reason this watercolor makes me feel a little odd. I always think of an ill fitting shirt when I look at it. To set myself at ease, I also created a cropped version.

fanfare

Does the first image make anyone else feel a little strange, or is it just me? Which version do you prefer?

This will be my last post before I leave for Kauai! I’m leaving bright and early in the morning. Before it’s the least bit bright actually, and I plan to purely enjoy myself on this vacation. I’m not even bringing my laptop along with me!

I’m sure I’ll have photos and hopefully some art to share when I get back, after the 28th of September.

new watercolor texture

Have you ever been inspired by your own work before?

Honestly I don’t think it’s ever happened to me until the other day when my twitter background was peeking out behind a couple of other computer windows while I was working on some non-art related stuff. My attention focused on a part of the pattern that I use as my background, and I thought it would look neat on a larger scale. I also liked the potential to play with transparency in the overlapping shapes, so I pulled out my watercolor sketchbook and drew the shapes I had in mind.

dragon fly

I used various colors because I wanted to see how they would look when overlapped.

I liked the result, but i wanted more overlapping, so I then drew a more random composition using the same basic shapes.

autumn

Because the drawing itself was a little on the chaotic side, I limited my use of colors to three. When it was finished, I realized I’d been a little messier than I thought, so I went back and added some thicker black lines to some of the shapes where I’d painted way outside the lines. The thicker lines helped smooth out the look and adds some extra visual interest in the contrast between the bold lines and the thinner lines and watery color washes.

The bold lines help anchor the previous painting, but for the next piece I wanted to include many overlapping shapes with more order, less chaos. I ended up drawing a pillar-like composition.

pillar

When I painted one of the first petals, there was too much pigment and water on the brush, and it ended up as a big glop on the paper. Watercolor is wonderfully forgiving if you catch a mistake before the paint has started to dry, so I used a paper towel to blot up the excess. I was surprised to see that it left a distinctive pattern in the paint. Although not what I was after for this particular painting, my interest was piqued, so of course I had to do another quick painting to see if I could reproduce the effect.

watercolor with texture

Success!

The resulting texture is very cool. Kind of pebbly, kind of lacy; it even reminds me a bit of hammered metal. This texture will definitely be making a repeat appearance or two in my future work.

cicada shell and robot egg

After finishing a couple of shell prints recently, I had the inspiration to add some drawing to one of them, but I was feeling a little uncertain about what to add.

shell print

To explore an idea without the pressure of being perfect, I made a quick copy of the watercolor painting. The print setting was on fast, so the copy turned out very light when compared to the original painting.

cicada shell and robot egg

I first had the idea for the striped egg, so that’s where I started. The cicada shell was sitting on my desk, and I decided that a little sketch of him would be a nice addition. The arms of the egg evolved of their own accord, and just like that, the innocuous egg shape turned into a robot egg. The other squiggles were added here and there to provide a little extra atmosphere.

I have an unexplainable fondness for this piece. Perhaps because of the way it evolved. Perhaps because it’s a little odd, and yet somehow oddly perfect. I really enjoy not only the doodles themselves, but also the detail of the texture created by the pixelated fast printout. It reminds me of swarms of things or primordial soup.

cicada shell and robot egg detail

I’m glad that I made the copy of the original watercolor, not because the drawing was imperfect or because I’m glad I didn’t “ruin” the watercolor, but because the lighter copy provided the perfect background for the odd scene. The bolder color of the watercolor might have overwhelmed the subject matter and wouldn’t have let the drawings shine through.

shell prints

After experimenting with stone prints, I tried something similar with a big piece of shell.

shell with holes

The surface was very uneven, and there was a big hole going right through. I wasn’t sure how well it would make contact with the surface of the paper, but decided to try it out.

I painted a water wash over a section of bristol, saturating it well, and then slathered the surface of one side of the shell with watercolor paint. I pressed the painted shell down on the wet paper and dropped some blue watercolor through the hole in the stone.

shell print, heart

Because the paper was so wet, pigment was pulled away from the center of the image to create a halo affect around the resulting shape. Upon drying, the paper was quite rippled, so the scanner picked up several shadows that created a radiating pattern around the painting.

I got some advice that if I wet the whole paper, and not just part of it, the paper won’t dry with such uneven warping. I’ll have to try that when I do the next round of prints, but before learning that helpful tidbit, I followed the same technique with the opposite side of the shell.

shell print, vertical

I painted the shell mostly blue, with a little red mixed in on some areas. This was the concave side of the shell, so it didn’t make as much contact with the paper. I printed the shell twice to get a little more paint over the surface of the paper. The red paint that I dropped through the hole spread out smoothly and filled a lot of the empty space.

I enjoy this technique very much. I’m impressed with the colors in these two images. They are very rich, and I think it’s beautiful how the colors spread in organic, unexpected ways. I appreciate the randomness of the process. I can make certain choices, like whether to use a shell or a stone and what colors to apply, but ultimately the resulting print will be a total surprise–a result of the choices I’ve made interacting with the water and paper. It’s very satisfying work.

Stay tuned for my next post where I take the second shell print one step further using a copier and some doodles.

oh! hello!

four hellos

Oh, hello!

Welcome to my new blog. You can find my old blog over here. I’ll still be posting at least some partial entries over there, but here is where the real action is going to be from now on.

My rediscovery of the very awesome Hello Project has coincided nicely with the set-up of this new blog, so read on to hear my Hello Project story.

About a year ago, I started working for a financial start-up company. Now, a year later, the company is no more, but what remains are many doodled-on post-it notes. There was a lot of down time in between spurts of activity at the new company, and I doodled to pass the time using what was nearest to me–ball point pens and post-it notes. During my post-it doodling days, I stumbled across the Hello Project for the fist time, and I doodled a couple of hellos (the blue ones). But my hello doodles languished in the stack of decorated post-its for months and months.

Recently the Hello Project again came to my attention, and I was inspired to make a couple new hellos (the yellow ones).

This time, I followed through and scanned them all and sent them off to the Hello Project and now they are up on their site for the world to see! Check them out, browse through all the other hellos, and then make one yourself!