Sunday, April 11, 2010

Step Pattern Continued

Getting there... Maybe one more day. About four hours here... Image is a tad more saturated than actual painting.


  1. Hi John,

    Well, I had looked at the pale wash version and thought it was pretty as it was, rather like Arabic tiles.

    But the newly strengthened version is just gorgeous: full of subtle vigour! It comes up well at that level of saturation, too. The slight patchiness in the blue is super. What a lovely border panel that would make. Or tiles for a pool: imagine water rippling over that geometry: yum.

    The patience certainly pays off in the end. Although it took time to put it all together, now it looks as though it happened as inevitably as Spring!

    Inspires me to go back to Meehan and have a look through his designs and ideas again.

  2. WOW! This looks great! Love the earthiness of your color choices and the granulations in the cerulean blue. W&N is my favorite cerulean; other brands seem too green or too blue to my eye. Their manganese blue is another favorite- just a bit deeper in color and even more granulation.

  3. Katharine, late last night I began poking through Meehan for the next painting. I'm feeling the urge for another zoomorphic. :-)

  4. Gretchen, I had a lot of fun with the blue. It was the first time I actually bothered to do a color test! :-) I applied a very light Ochre (oh, I do like that pigment and must try other brands!) wash over the entire painting. That seemed to bring in a slight green cast and perhaps pull the colors together a bit.

  5. Thank you both for your most encouraging comments. These are such exciting days for me, coming to art at this time in my life.

    Today, while painting, I must formulate my thoughts on the recent Cornell course. Tomorrow morning, I am speaker within a webinar for the student experience.

  6. Aha, aha: an ochre wash. I have done that with other colours to pull a piece together before now: so that's what probably what gives the blue that deeper-variegated look, almost like a manganese blue ceramics glaze, here and there ... perhaps what made me think of tiles?

    Another nice effect is in the russet, where you have painted the individual 'orphan' squares separately, so they have their own grading of colour up to the outline and are not just lumped in with the rest.

    Very interested by Gretchen's comments re blues now. Is it about the way they puddle on textured paper, or are they grainy in themselves? In Winsor & Newton gouache, the blues are very different textures from each other. Ultramarine and cobalt are crystalline, almost fluffy: cerulean is hard (and smells of cloves). On the other hand, dissolving prussian blue or pthalocyanine watercolour takes FOREVER. Lapis lazuli is faintly sparkly but utterly buttery to handle. There should be online features about all this, like wine-tastings ... "Hm, a fruity little quinacridone red ..."

    Zoomorphics are such fun. Birds are extra knotty because of the long necks and legs, the beaks (which interweave) and the wings (ditto with feathers). Hope you find something exciting.

    Mary Wesley became a best-selling novelist out of nowhere in her 70s, I believe. I guess there are always a couple of new ventures ready and waiting.

  7. You noticed my orphans! I pondered for some time whether or not I should box them in.

    I teased out that texture by applying a wash and then dabbing the still wet wash with my brush tip. That action seemed to pull the pigment particles together. (Hot press paper, by the way.)

    I think the ochre wash was more about trying to tone down the blueness. Today a dropped another blue wash on top that took things a bit back to blue. Fickle me, but it's now a wrap.