A Time to Simplify: Part Two

My Covid journey with watercolor on YUPO has changed my perception of how I might approach watermedia in the future. (See the first installment of my journey here.) Figure drawing is one of my favorite activities, and integrating line into paintings satisfies my love of drawing. With dozens of monochrome watercolor portraits on YUPO under my belt, I began integrating other media into the work. I had some larger sheets of YUPO on hand, so I utilized them in the continued series.

“Isolated” (watermedia on YUPO, 20 x 28 in.)
There are many sides of isolation and its affects on our loved ones. This piece was inspired by a FaceTime conversation with my 93-year-old mother.

On the YUPO sheets, I used anything I could find in my home studio: watercolor felt pens, watercolor pencils, graphite, watercolor crayons, mixed dark-valued watercolor, and white and black gesso — all the while staying within a monochromatic palette.

“Changes” (watermedia on YUPO, 20 x 28 in.)
This piece represents changing positions physically and philosophically. Overlapping implies multiple sequencing of time.

Layering has long been a solid part of my practice — shifting, overlapping, partially obscuring, and balancing. Using YUPO with mixed watermedia opened new opportunities for layering and communicating visually.

“Limited Exposure” (watermedia on YUPO, 20 x 20 in.)
Exposure relates to photography and the amount of light used within a frame. Exposure may mean showing our true identity, exposing things we don’t want others to see.

Family members came over and sat for me so that I could draw and paint from life. Layering images supported the narrative within the painting. Making shapes and lifting up or obscuring areas united the composition; the sum of the marks is greater than any one shape. Weaving ideas in and out of the composition provided exciting integration of overlapping figures.

As time went on, new imagery creeped into my imagination as I stared out my window or thought about other potential subject matter. Magpies, crows, jackrabbits, and moose joined people on my subject list; each were authentic in my personal experience. Often animals have acted as symbols that are attributed to certain personalities, so there was a nice relationship in this shift.

iving in Canada, I have had a few moose cross my path, and not just on the highway. Often associated as a symbol of Canada, the moose has been depicted in paintings as a majestic icon. I wanted to convey the amazing shapes and power of the head and antlers.
“Contained Murder” (watermedia on YUPO, 20 x 28 in.)
Crows fly past my home every evening, often stopping in one of the nearby trees for a discussion. Crows are smart, beautiful, and very noisy. When resting as a group in the trees, the murder is contained, interactive, and disruptive to non-crow varieties.

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