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My Granddaughter and I recently spent a Saturday, together, working on an art project. I am beginning a watercolor and rice paper collage class and my Granddaughter remembered that we had done this together once before.

redrockcollage2

My intent was to begin with a cruciform design created with washes of wet-in-wet watercolor.

redrockcollage3

Next, I experimented with different rice papers and tore them into strips and glued them to the surface of my paper, dividing my page into foreground, middleground and background areas. I made the glue from 3 parts acrylic matte medium stirred in with 1 part water. The glue should be runny, not thick. I am careful to not use too much glue in this process and try to keep it just on the papers. If it is allowed to pool in puddles around the papers, it dramatically changes the look of how the paint sits on untouched portions of the watercolor. paper.  I wait for the paper to dry or dry it with a hair dryer prior to moving on to the next step.

redrockcollage4

In the above step, I went back into the painting with color. I was careful to use colors I had already used in order to avoid too much muddying. I began to envision a large rock formation in the upper right quadrant. I could see a shape, in the distance, that could serve as another rock formation and enhance the depth of the landscape.

redrockcollage5

I knew I needed to develop a foreground and middleground for the distant rock formations. I mixed a dark from the greens and reds I’d used for my initial washes and began to carve out the lower edges of the rice papers. I did this in strips, thinking about the striations of rock.  I allowed this to dry before moving on.

redrockcollage6

I painted in the two rock formations in the background and darkened the the greens between them. I decided the foreground area was too large and bland and needed something to enhance depth. I glued down more textured rice papers in abstract tree or shrub-like shapes. You can see them, faintly in the foreground and middleground of this step. I again waited for the paper to dry.

redrockcollage finished piece

For the final step, I painted these shrubs and trees using my darkest darks, created from the reds and greens I’d used for lining the striations.

My Granddaughter liked many of Gerald Brommer’s compositions she viewed in his book on this subject. She decided to draw a distant house and paint and create a pretty colored foreground to the house.

houseinfield2

She drew her house and stream and painted large washes of greens, various shades, into the foreground. She painted her blue wash for the sky, and while the wash was still wet, dropped in some yellowy-green wash behind the house to attract attention to it.

houseinfield3

She then glued down all types of rice papers in torn shapes and glued them to her foreground green washes. She had more fun choosing all the different papers and glueing them down. She was pressed for time, so she dried this with a hair dryer.

houseinfield finished piece

Then, she painted her foreground area with colors she chose from my palette. She painted in her stream and used colored pencil on her house in the background. Oh! She outlined the house and the windows with a black sharpie.  My Granddaughter is seven.  I am always amazed by a child’s ability to create.

The above process takes time, so don’t rush yourself if you should try this. I enjoy the freedom and the shove to explore that the rice papers bring to a painting.

More posts using rice papers can be found here.

I takes me a great deal of time to create these. They are never what I set out to create. They happen on the paper.  I am still in the process of learning about the different rice papers and what the pigment does on them. I like going along the edges with my brush and a dark color, most evident in the top painting. I also like washing a transparent color over what I have created to accentuate a mood, most evident in the second painting.  As I worked on this I tried to finish them toward the vision I saw coming from the design on the paper. The first one I titled Glacial Remnants and the second one, Canopy.  I love this way of working. It is as though I am immersing myself in the art and the materials and allowing them to help me work a vision forward.

I am continuing my studies in the Watercolor and Collage Workshop  book by Gerald Brommer.  Let me say that there is a whole host of information in this book and anyone interested in this method of painting would find it full of suggestions and techniques to get you started as well as to inspire you furthur. My images fall short of his and I have a long way to go to master these techniques. However, I LOVE THIS.  Working on these feels like I am really adding a part of myself to the piece more than anything I have attempted other than continuous line drawing. It has caused me to feel my way through the composition and given me a little bit of a voice through my experimentation.  The above painting/collage is 4.5″ x 13.5″, so not very large. It was practice in beginning with a painting and applying papers and white watercolor to enhance the painting rather than to fix it. Mr. Brommer talked about the use of white in our work for more than just a “fix” but for part of the composition, as a whole. I liked that.

Below is how I created this painting:

My inspiration came from strips of a reference photo I used to paint this painting last year. I liked the value patterns I saw in the photo as I moved my viewfinder around an inkjet copy of it. I began the painting by applying light yellow and green wet-in-wet with a #12 round brush and

followed by defining the value pattern that I saw using darker greens and blues.

I added a suggestion of the trunks leading up through and behind the leaves using yellow and burnt sienna and then began glueing a nice transparent white rice paper that had long and curvey threads running through it. I use a mixture of acrylic matte medium and a little water as my glue and apply it to the papers with a brush. I do not “glob” it on but apply a little to back of paper and then stroke a little on the top surface of the paper to adhere it in place. I was careful to choose how I wanted the threads in the paper to flow along the branches. I did not just tear pieces and apply them haphazardly.  This stage of the painting took me the most time.

The above is how this painting looked when I was done glueing the rice papers to the surface.

   finished painting

This was the most fun stage of the painting. My painting had deviated from the reference so much that I was able to just enjoy enhancing what I had created. I darkened areas around the boughs of the branches trying to be mindful of where the light was filtering in from the upper righthand quadrant. I did not worry that the papers had changed the look of the leaves from the original reference and imagined pine boughs, instead (those huge droopy ones). To finish, I took Brommer’s suggestion and used some titanium white and painted in rays of light filtering through.

I enjoyed this one so much, I did another using a rice paper with little choppy threads in it. This one came out looking more like maple or oak leaves might.

   finished painting

 

I would also like to announce that there are two art shows coming up in our community in the next two weeks.

The Fort Wayne Artists Guild juried show’s opening is Friday July 8th from 7 to 9 pm. in the Jeffrey Krull Gallery on the first floor of the Allen County Public Library.  The show will hang through August 20th during normal Library hours.

Artlink’s Annual Members’ Show will open Friday July 15th from 6 to 9pm. This show will hang until August 10th and can be viewed during normal Artlink hours.

These are my two favorite shows each year and a great representation of local artists’ work. If you are in the area, you may wish to stop in and view them.

 

 

 

 

My watercolor and collage class just ended . This is probably the most time consuming, creative and experimental class I teach.

Susie Covitt

Susie Covitt

Laura Lindsay

Laura Lindsay

The above collage paintings were created using watercolor and Citrasolv collage papers that we made from treating National Geographic photos with Citrasolv. If you would like to know how to make these papers, click here.

Midge Wallace5

Midge Wallace5

Next we created abstracts by experimenting with the different textured rice papers we had purchased and layering watercolor and rice papers, one atop the other. We payed attention to elements of design as well as attempting to create a center of interest. The purpose of this assignment was to get used to the use of the papers, pigment and glue.

Jan Reche4

Jan Reche4

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

The next week we began much the same way with layers of pigment and rice papers and searched our compositions for something representational and developed it to portray what we saw. Both of the first exercises were free of any reference material until we saw something begin to appear. If we needed a reference, it was only to be used to help us bring what we saw forward.

Dianna Burt2

Dianna Burt2

Beth Akey6

Beth Akey6

For the final week, we created something realistic with watercolor and rice paper collage.

If you would like to view all the watercolor collage paintings created by this class, click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on the page Student Art: Watercolor and Collage.

treefrog

waterlandabstract

These are the most recent two paintings I have finished. The tree frog has a saran wrap print background that I returned and painted in each abstract shape by following the pattern that the saran wrap left. To get that print, I wet the entire background with juicy watercolors. I was careful to not wet any portion of the frog. I then took large sheets of saran wrap and crinkled them atop the washes, covered it with another drawing board and added the weight of several books atop the board. I left this overnight for the pigment to dry before removing the saran wrap. If you remove the saran wrap too soon, the water will soften and sometimes disturb any design. The background came out too light, so I repainted each individual section wet on dry and wet-in-wet.

waterlandabstract2

The rice paper abstract began with a grunge background like I explained here.

waterlandabstract3

I layered in some watercolor I wanted to  use for this abstract and allowed it to dry.

waterlandabstract4

I select various rice papers with textures and colors I think might go with what I already have and begin glueing them to the surface of the paper. I use a mixture of acrylic matte medium of one part water to four parts matte medium. I blot each paper as I glue it on so there is little glue residue left on the surface of the paper. I allow that initial layering to dry and paint or add gesso splatter and marks, more watercolor and ink  marks and allow that layer to dry.

waterlandabstract

finished painting

I alternate layers of media, in this manner, until I feel I have developed a center of interest and decide I am done.

Here is a another post that describes this process.

Laura Lyndsay

Laura Lyndsay

Henn Laidroo3

Henn Laidroo3

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

The artwork, above, are three of the paintings created by students who just finished a class on working with painting on masa paper and using rice paper collage with watercolor.

If you would like to view many more of these paintings you can click here or scroll to the top of the page and click on Student Art: Masa and Rice Papers and Watercolor in order to access the page.

whitedove

 

This is a new abstract using the rice paper collage with watercolor. As I worked on it, I saw a dove appearing in the upper right quadrant. I couldn’t help but to bring that dove forward and let it be about her, or him.

whitedove2

 

I began, as usual, working toward  abstract washes and marks and allowing the watercolor to mingle.

whitedove3

 

I glued some torn rice papers on the surface with glue made from one part water and three parts acrylic matte medium. You can also make a mixture of water and PVC glue or acid free Elmers glue. All three work for these. I waited for the glue to dry and painted some more. As I work these stages, I prop the painting up on my mantle and move away from it and study it as I wait for it to dry, sometimes overnight. I will turn the painting all different ways and search for imagery in it, especially areas where I can develop a center of interest.

whitedove4

 

I began to see an image of a dove appear and started darkening the shapes around her by adding more papers and painting around and through them.

whitedove5

 

As the dove came forward, I felt it time to begin balancing the red of the sun and describing the background just enough to suggest a few things like a horizon line, a watery landscape and maybe a bridge, trying not to get too detailed. I want to let the viewer see their own story in this so I just concentrate on guidelines of composition like values and contrast of shape and line and color combinations. I like it that these pull out a viewer’s imagination.

whitedove

 

To finish the painting, I darkened and textured the the blue water behind the dove and carried that darker color over to the left. I added a rice paper that had little silver bits in it to the waterway under the bridge and softened the abstract shapes under the dove by adding some more stringy rice papers there.

These are fun!!!!!

spring20151

 

Once again, my class is working with watercolor and rice paper collage. I always encourage them to create an abstract for their first assignment. We use the same glue (acrylic matte medium with a little water mixed in so it is not so thick) and tear our rice papers or cut them and glue them to our painting. We, then, go back in and paint some more as each layer dries.

ricepapers

 

Above are some examples of rice papers I use.

 

spring20152

 

We begin by choosing a color palette and making marks on our watercolor paper in abstract patterns. This phase can include drips (by turning your wet painting several directions), splatter, light and loose washes and marks with different brushes. I always advise my students to keep some of the white of the paper and ask my students to look for potential areas to work toward a center of interest on or near a “sweet spot”. In the above painting, it is that area that is so dark near the upper right sweet spot. I wait for this initial wash to dry and then begin tearing and cutting different rice papers and adhering them to the paper with the glue I made. Make sure you use only enough glue to adhere the paper. Too much glue dries thickly and interferes with future applications of watercolor. The above photo has some rice papers already glued into it. I try not to think too much in the first layer. I am always working toward the area that I think will become my center of interest. I try to allow the painting to tell me what it wants and try to not get too dark or muddy in the first two layers. The gluing phases of these creations always takes longer to dry, so I try to have two paintings going at the same time and alternate between the two.

spring20153

 

The above image is what my painting looked like after three layers of rice papers and watercolor painting.  My center of interest was still not strong enough and I wanted to add more gold  and some of that lime color to make it pop some more.

spring20151

 

In the above, you can see I added those greens and golds to grab the viewer’s eye. Then, I chose a rice paper with some shiny silver things in it and designed a moon-like image on my sweet spot. I chose to lead the viewer’s eye there with some torn strips of that sparkly paper. After that dried, I took a small round brush and darkened some lines and shapes leading to the moon with diox violet.

Here is one I created last year.

I really like that I never know what I am going to get. It allows me to relinquish some of my control and let the values, lines and shapes draw me into what is forming on the paper. No two paintings are ever alike and there are endless possibilities!

ensorcelled

I learned a new word, ensorcelled, which means to bewitch or enchant. I found it in a poem written by Pen titled “Effigies”.  Thankyou, Pen!

I think I was so intrigued with the new word, it was part of what went into the above abstract. Also, there was a lot of talk about the “blood” moon this past month and I must have picked up on some of that while creating the above painting.

ensorcelled2  click to enlarge

It all began with this image, created in watercolor.

ensorcelled3 click to enlarge

Then came a layer of rice papers that I tore in abstract shapes and glued to the surface. My glue was made with one part water added to two parts acrylic matte medium. I devote two old brushes( one large, one small ) in order to attach the papers to the surface. Even though I clean the brushes following each use, they still get stiff and gummed up. I am very careful to not apply the mixture thickly or allow it to run onto the non-rice paper portion of the surface (this will affect and distort later applications of watercolor).

ensorcelled4  click to enlarge

I then go back and paint again, paying attention to what I see appearing on the paper. This is the most fun part of the painting. I am still learning how to let go and create from what I see appearing in the colors and the shapes. There is always an element of the unknown with these because I use different rice papers with textures running through them and they all accept the paint differently.  My partner becomes the materials I am using and the imagery that presents itself on the surface.  In otherwords, I never know what I am going to get when I start one of these.

ensorcelled5  click to enlarge

In the above step, I tried to pull the painting together by adding darks in and through the forms. I defined the orbs more. I gave it a promise of spring by adding some spring greens.

ensorcelled  final painting

To finish, I darkened the upper orange and yellow strip at the top, allowing for the suggestion of two more orbs or moons. I went back through the branches and, with little pieces of fiber strings I pulled from one of my ricepapers, I textured those gnarly branch-like forms. I also added fibers to the leafy greens, mid left.

For other posts with rice papers click here.

 

 

 

Shhh!

Shhh!hidenseek

I created the above paintings from photo references that my sister took of my Granddaughters while they played hide and seek after my daughter’s wedding.  Thank you to my sister for allowing me to paint from them.

I love the technique I used to create them so will share how I created the top one with you.

Shhh!2

In the first step, I toned a piece of 140lb Arches coldpress with abstract color. I had to get this layer dark enough so it would show through the rice paper I was going to glue on top of it.

Shhh!3

I then covered the entire surface with torn pieces of textured and transparent rice papers, overlapping them as I went. I mixed my glue with 1 part water to 3 parts acrylic matte medium. This created numerous textures over the surface of my abstract. I applied the glue on the underside of the papers and thinly over the top side of them with my brush, making sure I pushed any air bubbles from under the papers. I allowed this stage to dry overnight.

Shhh!4

I then drew my subject on the format in graphite. Yes. You can erase, easily, on this surface.

Shhh!5

I painted.

Shhh!6

…and painted

Shhh!7

…and painted.

I really enjoyed this surface. It was much like when I paint on toned Masa Paper pieces. I found I could lift and blend color if it dried too flat looking.  Some of the pigment would trail along a torn piece of the rice paper and add more texture.  Sometimes when I rubbed my brush over a dried painted area, interesting textures would show through like in the lower right hand quadrant of the second little girl, above. The glow of the original underpainting showed through in some areas, adding to the piece.

Shhh! finished painting

To finish the painting I added white gouache to the larger girl’s dress and veil. In the second painting I added the white gouache to leaf forms and tiny flowers.  I chose to fade the bottom of both pieces to show the textures of the papers and make the paintings appear significant of a memory.

I liked this technique enough to want to do more of them.