Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lonely Cloud - A Creative Process Blog

Lonely Cloud
30 x 18 watercolor on artists canvas
Been a while since I have done a canyon painting. And to be totally honest this one did not even begin this way. I wanted to do a cloud painting. I as inspired by another artist, a dear friend of mine. Of course I did not want to copy him. His clouds were over the high plains. My choices were to put my clouds over the top of a mission church (did that one recently) or over an arch (may still do that one) or a canyon. 

Clouds poured

Clouds are fun to do. Essentially they are poured like my skies are generally but they have a lot of negative space where there is no color. And then I work with really advanced tools like sponge and q-tips and paper towel to blot off color and dab in color. The shape of the canyon, which is masked off, predicts to some degree the shape of the clouds. Both artistically and in nature. Up drafts from the canyons make the clouds rise and build.

Far Canyon Walls painted in

Some of the colors of the back canyon walls which are catching the sunlight to the left are reflected up on to the clouds above them. It helps unify the clouds with the canyons. One of the reasons I like doing canyons is they are relatively fast because I pour the foreground walls. Using various watercolor mediums I can achieve texture and blending which looks rugged. It is distance which makes canyon walls look smooth.

Poured front canyon walls

I had initially imagined all the floor of the canyon to be a river, but then the painting would not be about the clouds but about the river. So I decided to give it a sandy bottom like most desert canyons. But if it is raining somewhere above there will be some water in the bottom too.

Canvas covered
Covering the canvas is always a milestone for me, but it is not close to being done. I added washes over the far canyon walls to make them recede in the distance. And I played with my sandy bottom and the wash of water quite a bit while doing details on the walls and fussing with clouds. In the version above I decided the water was still too much and so in the version below I added another spit of sand.

Ravens added
And I put more gold in the sandy bottom of the canyon to echo the walls in the distance. The ravens draw the eyes up from the canyon wall to the clouds above. Or down from the clouds to the heart of the canyon.

It is not totally a cloud painting. The canyon pulls the eyes into their heart. So obviously I have to do another cloud painting. But I like this painting very much. Sometimes I do not feel totally in control of my creations. It is as if they decide what they want to be when they are finished. Best to not fight them.

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