I used to dislike New Years. Being such a Christmas fanatic, the New Years holiday seemed more like an anti-climactic ending to such a festive time of year–like Christmas’s sad, ugly, forgotten cousin who had a birthday that everyone felt they needed to begrudgingly acknowledge–than a real cause for celebration.
But, in the past several years, I have grown to increasingly love New Years because it is a holiday that is filled to the brim with hope. It’s the holiday of endless possibilities: you can sit down and list out all of the things you’d like to do or aspire to in the next year, no matter how wild the ideas are that cross your mind, AND you have 365 days to do all of those things! Not a week! Not a month! An entire year. There is no rush, no limits, and my daydreamer self loves that concept.
Here is to a happy, healthy New Year for everyone.
Two posts ago I wrote about my extreme distaste for my current watercolor situation. So, I decided to begin at Square 1, which was: clean my palette completely off and start hunting for a wider range of colors.
I’ve been using the same color palette/scheme since about 2014. While the colors one can potentially mix from a mere set of reds, yellows, and blues is supposedly infinite, I’m here to tell you that’s honestly a load of horse patties. Sorry, color-theory folks.
Now, I was faced with the first problem. Paint is expensive. Like, seriously expensive, even for .5 measly little fluid ounces of the stuff. Granted, a little Daniel Smith goes a long way, but still. I can go through a whole lot of Shadow Violet.
And then, I remembered.
The GIANT TUB of gouache and watercolors I received from a dear friend who lost her cancer battle several years ago had sat languishing in the back of my closet for quite awhile, begging to be organized. Well, then. It was time to organize.
What a treasure awaited me.
Tube upon tube of colors arrayed before me. So many exciting new colors I’d never used or heard of–or simply hadn’t bought because of the expensive gamble of buying a color and deciding I hated it–were miraculously at my finger tips. Folks, I haven’t been this excited about painting in awhile.
I spent an entire evening sorting through almost all of the empty tubes, dried up tubes, leaky tubes, and perfectly fine tubes of paint all in an evening, creating a pile for gouache and a pile for watercolor. Then, I organized each paint type into color families so I wasn’t spending valuable time hunting for a Dioxazine Purple amid my Yellow Ochres. I made color charts and painted various experimental doodles with both gouache and watercolor to decide which I liked best. It felt like I was putting all of my favorite pets into little comfy corners of the room, waiting to be doted upon.
I think I might finally be heading in a better direction for myself. As always, stay tuned.
Sometimes I even say to myself, “Seriously? Another black-and-white drawing?”
“Yes. Got a problem?”
There is something I really love about black-and-white. No matter how many color pieces I do, black-and-white is like that one boyfriend who you just keep going back to, not because he’s a sleazy hunk and a cheap date, but rather because he’s a romantic. He’s the boy next door who maybe everyone else failed to notice but you–and every time you come back, golly he just gets cuter.
In fact, a former professor was once singing the praises about the virtues of black-and-white art-making, saying that, “It’s really all you need. All of the visual information you ever need is there.”
I remembered this phrase, interestingly, on the heels of browsing one of my favorite textbooks by Martin Salisbury, where he states (and I paraphrase): “The important thing (about drawing) is whether or not the approach serves the drawing’s purpose.”
So. Let a drawing serve it’s purpose. i.e.: Show only what needs to be shown. Get rid of the weeds. Don’t overly complicate a piece if it shouldn’t be complicated, WHICH INCLUDES not adding color if it isn’t necessary.