Monday, March 22, 2021

One Inch Project, Numbers 9-17

I'm better at painting these one square inch paintings than I've been about posting them! I'm still having fun exploring these tiny ones. They're very dependent on high contrast, strong shape welding and color to succeed, and not so much on teeny details. When I hit all the marks they're quite convincing, despite being so small. 

Number 9. white trees

Number 10, mesa shadow

Number 11, purple sky

Number 12, cloud shadow

All four of the above are painted on Arches 140 lb cold press paper. It's a delight to paint on, as it absorbs water and has a nice light texture that allows for enough detail. 

The paintings below are all on Bristol smooth, which is much harder paper that lets the paint stay on top and results in a little more tiny detail touches. 

I cut the paper to 4"x4", and of course the images are 1"x1" in size. I tape the edges, so sometimes you'll see a teeny bit of a bobble where paint escapes the edge. I don't mind that, since these are hand painted. Perfection is for machines. 

Number 13, green grass shadow

Number 14, Colorado slope

Number 15, sage and pinon trees

Number 16, watermelon sunset

Number 17, yellow mesa

I've decided that including my thumb in the lower corner gives enough sense of scale and is less obtrusive looking. In reality they're quite tiny, literally postage stamp sized. At least on a computer you can enlarge the image to see the details. At home I hand out a magnifying glass when I show them. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

One Inch Project: Experiment


This painting was an experiment done to see if I could use loose edges on a one square inch painting. It got a lot larger than one square inch--probably closer to two square inches, give or take. The paper is 4" x 4".  

That's part of the nature of experimentation, of course, just trying it to see if it works. I'm actually very encouraged by this one. I like the painterly edges, which seem to give it a sense of movement, adding to the exuberant feel. 

So I think I'll play around some more, respecting the scale more carefully, to see if I can retain the joy, energy and drama in this transitional piece. 

I expect some future paintings will have neatly taped edges, while others escape, depending on what each painting needs. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

One Inch Project, Number 8

Number 8 is unique because I masked off the edges with tape. It worked just fine, but only because I had the self-discipline to resist removing it before the paint was dry. I like the way the sky gradates from light up to dark, yet looks bright blue, which is so typical of New Mexico.

Gouache on Arches 140 lb cold press, 4"x4" outside edge, image 1"x1".


Friday, March 5, 2021

One Inch Project, Numbers 6 and 7

In painting number six I started with the blue wash in transparent watercolor, then made a mix of pale orange and white gouache for the distant clouds. I like to mix grays from all kinds of colors, basically combining complements until I have the shade I want. I used different mixtures for the paler gray clouds and the warm gray foreground trees, varying the tone to suggest more distance in the gap. My favorite bit is the telephone pole! That took two tiny, quick strokes and telling myself to STOP! 

Number seven also began with a wash, but I created the bright blue with a dab of white gouache and blue watercolor. I used a bit of the mixed grays already on my palette from number six, with some darker blue added. The greens are a mix of sap green with orange, and a bit more hooker's green for the darks. I particularly like the way the funny brush made leaves dotted against the sky and clouds. 

These are the brushes I routinely use for the one inch paintings. I start every one of them with a few sketchy lines, drawn usually from a photograph, though not always. Then I use the biggest brush, here on your far right-hand side, which is a #8 chisel blender. It's HUGE on a painting this size, of course, but I turn it at various angles to get shapes in place. There's a 'funny brush' next to it that I use to make leafy or grassy shapes. I rely on the tall Chinese brush in the middle for the teeniest of lines, especially fine straight ones. I also like the one on the fat left side for dots and dashes, Oddly, the Kolinsky liner brush, second from the left, I don't often use. It's more suited to fine lines in a larger painting, I think. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

One Inch Project

As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to make 100 of these one inch paintings. It sounds like a lot, I know, but they're so tiny that I usually paint at least two per session. In making that many I believe I'll have an opportunity to resolve issues as they come up and find some new and innovative approaches. 

So here's number three, which is on Bristol Smooth. I like the way the paint pools and moves on top of this harder paper. It doesn't absorb as much, making it more immediate. That makes it kind of unpredictable, of course! But that's part of the fun. 

Number four, also on Bristol Smooth. I used transparent watercolors for these. Some of the pigments stain more, some granulate, others are more transparent. It pays to learn how your colors work. I enjoyed the delicate color and touch of the blue sky color and the pale yellow blended below it. The secret is that the bright lemon yellow at the horizon was dropped in at the very end. 

Number five, again on Bristol Smooth, was painted with gouache. The image size was experimental, 1" x 1.25". I honestly like the square inch better, but I really like the way the gouache looks, so I may use it more frequently. 

Still learning. Still having fun! 


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Smaller Still

I'm starting a personal challenge, painting one hundred of these postage stamp sized paintings! 

During the time of Covid isolation I haven't painted consistently. I've experimented with various things, trying to find my voice again. It wasn't until I hit on this little idea that the sparks started to fly again. It uses skills I've already developed but I have to adapt them to the scale. 

Number one, one inch painting. Watercolor. 

Here's number two. Watercolor. 

I have a lot to learn. I'll share my journey here. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Distilled from a Photo

This composition was inspired by a photo, but quite distilled. The orange against the blue and those chunky green strokes with the yellow just seemed like enough, so I stopped sooner than later.

I'm pleased with the blocky mesa, typical of New Mexico, where I live. There's a sense of sunlight through the broken sky that was incidental, but like any artist I built upon it as it happened.

Watercolor, 2.5" x 3.5" on Strathmore 140 lb hot press paper. I painted it using Daniel Smith color dots (sample colors).

One Inch Project, Numbers 9-17

I'm better at painting these one square inch paintings than I've been about posting them! I'm still having fun exploring these t...