Daily art in May: looking back
I felt I still owe you, the reader, the rest of my May art and some summary of what went on during the month. Just as a reminder: I didn’t choose a proper theme for the month. I wanted a lot of freedom, probably to try out several themes from which to choose in the final two months of the year of daily creating. Beforehand I thought I would like to try painting abstracts (and yes I did) – master copying (no) – watercolor (yes some, especially experiments) – collages using gelli print leftover papers (yes some, but not so many as I thought) – collages/paintings using words (no, not yet). And I wanted to work in the studio – on some days and not be held to one theme for that. I wanted to be free to try things there too.
Acrylic paint on prepared watercolor paper, 20 x20cm, May29, #272/366
The results in numbers:
On 21 days I worked on abstracts (painting and/or collage), though sometimes on something else as well;
I produced a total of 50 abstract pieces (small sketches and finished pieces):
- 8 black and white sketches in charcoal
- 7 colored sketches (mixed media)
- four oil paintings on canvas (most of them still work in progress)
- 8 square abstracts on watercolor paper (20x20cm)
- 3 wet into wet experiments in watercolor on half sheets of watercolor paper (one turned into a kind of color field painting, another was a lovely pattern)
- 2 abstract collages out of painted papers (gelli printing paper), A4 size
- 3 cards with collages out of gelli print paper (A5)
- 2 pastel drawings (A4); and last but not least:
- a set of 12 to 15 watercolor and gesso sketches done in the studio as warm up and sketch for canvas paintings (sizes between 13×13 and 26x26cm );
The results in content – types of work, media
On the abstracts I worked first in charcoal, then moved to colored mixed media sketches (Inktense pencil, watercolor and pen). I painted in acrylic (a series of 8 paintings sized 20×20 cm on watercolor paper) and in oil paint on canvas. I also produced some abstract collages using (gelli plate issued) painted papers.
The rest of the days were filled with paintings in lots of media (mostly mixed media) and quite diverse subject matter:
- several days of watercolor experiments under the heading of Big Juicy Watercolor (painting and drawing cats, lights and flowers) hosted by Fred Lisaius;
- three days of imaginary creatures (including the Hare Dude) using mixed media (watercolor, pen, gesso);
- two days: two mixed media paintings in response to Life Book 2016 (Pauline Agnew lesson on flowers and a zentangle butterfly on a colored background; plus one day making the first step of a mixed media painting of a woman and (also for Lifebook – but never finished it) ;
- two quick face paintings in an art journal; mixed media (Neocolor, gesso and pen);
- one day of making ink people (warm up in the studio on June 10);
- one very happy day spent with the urban sketchers of the Netherlands, their first ever national urban sketching event on the streets of my own town, Utrecht – I painted two watercolor pieces that day;
- one evening (May 31) I started an art journal spread; I joined a group of mixed media art journalers doing an online game of taking random prompts for a journal spread – eight cards are pulled from a deck with art prompts – which led me to an unfinished spread – not more than a patterned background really – on which I worked further in June (June2.]
- And last but not least: several days of painting in oil paint, two on small canvases (50 x 50 cm) and two on larger canvases (one 100 x 100 cm; one 60 x 80 cm) . One painting was a study of layering color “a la Mark Rothko”. I was inspired by the idea that Rothko’s colorfield paintings are often multilayered pieces, in which he used transparent layers so you can often see through some parts of the toplayers and the painting has an interesting color to the eye. The painting I did probably wasn’t so Rothko-like if you consider the materials I used. I used oil paint -and mostly transparent colors, which had to dry for quite a long time – whereas Rothko used to use quicker drying paints, and mixes of media and pigments (fluid media, alkydhars etcetera). I also painted a square abstract on a larger canvas (100x100cm) including color fields, shapes and lines; which is a work in progress.
Most of the above I already shared in earlier posts, publishing daily art made up to May 23 (the flowers in a vase, a painting on paper inspired by a lesson by Pauline Agnew from Life Book 2016).
Some images from the final days of May :
- A quick painting of a woman and abstract shapes; a journal spread with a simple color scheme;
- several more unfinished journal pages/spreads among them an unfinished journal page – “A box full of wisdom” – LB 2016 lesson by Christy Tomlinson;
- Abstract collage cards (3) on A5 size card stock ; plus a collage of gelli papers containing a flower; all functioned as warm up before painting on large canvas;
- Urban sketching – two watercolor paintings (one shown);
- Abstract squares paintings (May 29 and 30): one real abstract (one shown above), one abstract tree shape, two abstract floral / garden scenes;
- Lights at night – another watercolor experiment (31)
Slow work in the studio
The oil painting went from a window like start to a rather dark painting which still shows some of the under layers. This seems to glow in some places. This effect is rather hard to show in a photograph. Here’s some of the progress steps:
The semi-abstract I liked most is this tree painting.
Acrylic on watercolor paper, 20x20cm; May 29 number2, day #272/366
I am starting to see a pattern :
- I love playing with watercolor – but painting in acrylics is having a come-back;
- I love abstracts – but I don’t make 100% non – representational ones; that is not easy – I like to turn abstracts into semi-representational, imaginary trees or flowers or floral images quite often; for the time being I don’t plan them most of the time, I just let it happen;
- I have found a love of making small square paintings – 20 x 20 cm – acrylic paint on watercolor paper (strengthened by gesso on both sides). The series contained 8 paintings by the end of May ; I’ve continued them in June.
Doing daily work was a bit hard for me this month; for several reasons:
- The daily work – the idea of making one piece a day – turns me into a hasty person some days. This is how it works for me right now. I feel I need to produce results the same day – which isn’t always what I want. I get a bit hasty because of this (already a tendency – which is strengthened by this) .
- When I have more time and I can spend more time on a piece, I find that more fulfilling. I do get to have days like that, when I take more time on one piece, and making a little more layered work sometimes. E.g. The flower painting – in response to Pauline Agnews lesson – “A vessel full of tenderness”.
- Some days there’s simply not so much time – so I cannot be fulfilled – I should accept that as a fact. Now I feel I should have taken more time on the watercolors. But I didn’t always have that time. I also wish I had more time to finish the journal pages – but I didn’t (for good reasons – I had to get ready for a family party); I should accept that kind of fact and not criticize myself too much.
- I mentioned earlier, that fitting in some exercise in my day makes for me doing the daily art at night more often – sometimes when I’m already tired.
Another thing I enjoyed this month:
- I liked the way I worked on the abstracts very much: painting two paintings at the same time on one day – sometimes allowing for little additions on the second day – on which I start two new ones – and so on.
PS During the month of June I will probably post irregularly, two to four times a week.