|When the Rains Came|
3' x 2' Watercolor on artists canvas
I was thumbing through some old books of sepia paintings of the American West and say one of White House Ruins with two men sitting on a promontory cut off from the ruin by a vast river of water. My paintings of my beloved Colorado Plateau have always included water even when it was not there. It is a wish it will return. So the photograph was a perfect jumping off point for me and this painting. And I returned with this painting to watercolor. Okay, there is a few pens used but so did the Chinese with their watercolors.
|Main color blocks poured in|
|Color blocks defined|
|Color layers and a small cascade of water from the top left|
I do begin a painting with a source of inspiration (that sepia photograph) and a sketch to define my direction. I have only rarely used a color sketch and then when I sketched on site with watercolor pencils and pens. I find with a especially a large and complex painting it takes over control at a certain point. The progress photo above was that point. And so more water running down the cliff face had to be added.
And if somewhere up top it is raining there must be clouds. And vegetation had to be added to the hill where the women herd their sheep. It needed to be darker so it did not distract from the clouds or the sheep or the ruins. Finding that balance took some time. Lately I have been filling in the foregrounds with oil stick bushes. I returned to my use of salt and granulation medium.
If sand paintings done by the native peoples in the southwest can be prayers for heeling. Can a painting with water be a prayer for its return to our parched land?