In my quest to loosen up in my painting I feel I am neither loose enough nor detailed enough in the result.
I am quick to assume that, after a career in being detail-oriented, I am inclined to be forever focused on minutiae. That’s not a bad thing, especially in getting botanical or anatomical subjects on paper but that leads to other issues. Getting the drawing, composition and perspective right requires a good eye. Getting an accurate colour match, however, is a different thing.
Which means it’s better to be looser. Or maybe not!
Another thing that may influence me is the size of the piece. The picture at the head of this post shows a painting of a Sunbird on A4 paper adjacent to a Bullfinch on ATC paper. The paper size is considerably different but the image sizes are only 2:1. I tend to put more of the subject into the paper as the size of paper reduces.
The larger the image, the more detail I put in.
After Inktober I painted about 15 ATC images as watercolour versions of the monochrome Inktober subjects.
I recommend doing this on a daily basis as a journaling exercise, as a warm up before starting a bigger picture, as a quick reference for the same reason, or as a means to get ideas on paper. This can be done on ATC paper or in a journal – the idea being to be spontaneous and productive.
While I was in Edinburgh I bought some pads of A4 and A3 paper. I made a start in an A3 painting but never finished. The size of the paper requires other considerations: brush size, amount of water used for wetting the paper and mixing the paint, and drying time. It is so much easier to be quick and spontaneous at thumbnail size that at A3.
Yet, in my school days, all of my painting was done at A3 or larger.
So in order to progress I need to set aside time to quickly progress in paper size till I feel comfortable at the larger scale projects.
If you haven’t already do so please have a look at Karl Marten’s work: large sheets of beautiful paper, big brush size, and a mix of subject knowledge and artistic competence that allows him to seemingly throw down an image that captures the character of his subject with ease. That is my goal.
Why am I doing this? Well, partly because I started down the path while at school and am now determined to finish what I started, perhaps in memory of those who encouraged me who I feel deserved more effort on my part.
Also, I love art and birds!