Paper Houses

Paper Houses

What To Do With A Painting Gone Wrong.

I’ve been witnessing what a few artists are doing with a painting gone wrong on Instagram. Some are cutting their paintings up and reworking them into a collage. So much better! It changes the perspective and they don’t feel so bad about a bad painting because now it’s a completely different thing.

I finished a watercolor of fingers of sunlight stretching across river water directed towards an interesting arrangement of sand, rocks, and pebbles. In the end, wasn’t working. Not for me, not for my partner. Instead of pitching the painting altogether, I did something I hadn’t done before. I created a paper house out of it. Like my fellow IG artists found out, this was so much better and way more fun.

Just for yucks, I thought I would post a series of process photos on how I went about it. This is way before I discovered that there are tons of templates and kits for making paper houses online, by the way. All you have to do is google “paper houses.”

So How Did It Go?

Creating a little paper house was a lot easier than I had imagined. The key was to first build a prototype using paper from my printer. You know, the letter-sized stuff that comes in reams purchased at Office Max. Nothing special. That’s where I worked out all the snags, like where to put the tabs to glue the roof down and what size it could be. Given my watercolor painting was 18” high (and 12” wide), I could build a paper house that was 4.5” square with plenty left over to add the flooring and most importantly, the roof.

It helped to have a bone scorer used to score sheets of paper in bookmaking. The watercolor paper is 300 lb. (that’s thick) hotpress Fabriano. Even with scoring the folds with fervor, (I could have started it on fire!), the paper still creases unevenly and makes for a cracked appearance. No matter. I wasn’t going for perfection. Everything else lined up thanks to the “measure twice, cut once” adage.

Your Turn.

What do you do with a painting you feel has gone wrong or isn’t working? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Thanks for reading. Till we meet again, keep the creative spirit, be kind to the earth and especially be kind to yourself.

It’s All About Layers

It’s All About Layers

When asked “what do you do?” I will say I am an artist. (Note that I answer “who I am” versus “what I do.” Art is who I am and art what I make). The first question is followed by “what kind of art?” To which I typically answer with a medium. “Watercolors” I’ll respond. “Oh! they’ll say, Watercolor is so hard. You have to work so quickly. I could never do watercolors!” I smile. Everything takes practice and lots of it and I will encourage them to try.

I practice a lot at my art and I am never too old, too experienced, or too perfect to seek out instructions or new techniques. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon YouTube videos on negative painting. Instead of painting inside the subject, you paint around it. I’ll show you the process so it makes sense.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP ONE: Start by getting your paper wet. Then add a wash of colors that you like. Some people carefully select their color palette beforehand but I just picked colors that play nice together. At first it doesn’t look like much. Let each layer (Step) dry before proceeding.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP TWO: Next I draw in a loose grass pattern. i then paint around them in a color slightly darker than the previous colors in Step One.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP THREE: I continue to add more grass shapes as well as circles. I am such a circle girl. Then I paint around all the blades of grass and circles with a slightly darker shade of green. With each layer of paint, you gain more depth.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP FOUR: I continue the process by adding more blades of grass, overlapping them in each step, and then paint around each blade with an even darker shade of green.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP FIVE: You get the idea. Continuing the process, the watercolor is coming together. This is really meditative.

NEGATIVE PAINTING STEP SIX: I almost stopped at Step Five but felt it needed one more layer of paint to make it complete. By this time, I was using a deep blue-green color I think I’ll title this one “Wondering Where The Lions Are.”

There you have it! Super effective once you get the hang of it. I did not get too fussy about pencil lines but you might want to erase yours with a kneaded eraser (no eraser shavings) so your lines are much lighter. It was pure play and I can see incorporating this method of negative painting with layers in my work. I am a little bit on the fence though with these studies. They were such a joy to make yet at the same time they feel a little like a Hallmark formula. That could be because I started super simple and trying this out for the first time.

Project Notes: I used 300lb Fabriano Bright White hot press watercolor paper. The thickness of the paper held up to all the paint layers really well and did not buckle from the water. Watercolors are Winsor Newton and some inexpensive cake watercolors – any brand of watercolors will do! It is important to mix colors and not just use colors straight out of the tube ~ you get a much richer effect that way. There were really small paintings, too, about 5 x 7 inches.

This is the first negative watercolor painting I did. It is so pretty but it has that Hallmark card gleam to it. So I call this one either “Dentist Office Reception Area” or Holiday Inn Lobby, Ames Iowa.” It just looks like something that would be hanging in one of these locations.

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