Two of the most important words in art-making seem to be "What if...." Sometimes I get my best ideas when I am simply picking up my current mess in my studio. A few weeks ago I happened across an unopened bottle of friskett which had fallen on the floor under some shelves. Friskett is a substance which can be applied to watercolor paper before you start painting. Let's say you want to paint a snowstorm. You can apply tiny dots of friskett all over your painting surface and after you are finished painting, you peel off all those little dots of friskett, and voila! a storm of tiny white snowflakes. I started thinking about all the fun things I could do with the stuff and got completely derailed into a day of "What if?" First I tried a postcard. After I applied the friskett, and painted a design of sorts, I went back in with colored pencils.
That was fun, so I did some more:
The postcards were small; I wanted to see what a quarter of a sheet of watercolor paper would be like. Now, dear reader, please remember that this is experimentation....I am on the hunt for possibilities, which excite me ten times more than actual results! I liked the one above because I could see the huge changes and modulations I could make in it with colored pencils. Then I decided to try a different color path entirely:
I liked the pastel colors because I knew I could adjust the values with either more watercolor or with pencils. (You can probably tell I was testing my snowstorm skills in the upper left hand corner.)
When I began to think about all the colored pencil work it would take to do something this big, I reverted back to postcards.
The one on the top was an attempt at a sort of landscape. Neither one of these has any colored pencil work on them.
Below is another big one--I was trying to make an outer space monster--can you tell?
Then I got a great big "What if?" idea! I could cut up these big ones for book covers for the watercolor books I like to make! I could either do all the work I wanted to do on them before I made them into covers....or even better, I could work on them a little at a time after they became covers, which sounded like a whole lot of fun. Here is another big one:
I love art-making that is wide open and experimental because it takes all the pressure off me. It took me a thoroughly delightful morning to mess around with these materials--but what fun!! My next step is to take the big ones, cut them into covers for small watercolor books, and then pick out which cafe I want to visit with my book and my colored pencils in hand. Let's see--while I finish my book cover (or part of it) will I be having a regular latte or a cinnamon chai latte?
What fun and spicy "What ifs?" lie ahead of you in your summer? I hope you enjoy your experiments!