Monday, 2 August 2010

The Next Chapter

Daffodil Wash from my first book " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour"
Colour merging and mixing on paper, sections left white  and hardly any detail yet.

I am looking through the stages and washes of paintings from my first book " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour". I have one study of daffodils which I added in a chapter purely to demonstrate how colour alone can simply hint at a subject with very little detail. Looking at the above image at first you may not see the daffodil centres. You may not see the hints of petals appearing  around these circular forms. But while studying the placement of colour the flowers do seem to be there.A lot of information is already given without us even realsing it. Just a few touches now could turn this into something really alive and uniquely special.

The imagination of the viewer of  of every individual artist leads them to their own preference of style. There will be those who want far more detail and those who enjoy a wash just as it is. This piece is far from finished and it is going to be sheer joy to complete now that I have all the original paintings from my book back with me from the publishers.

I have learned so many lessons from my  first leap into being an author. Now while writing again I have come to understand the hardest part of writing a book on art with demonstrations is actually leaving a number paintings unfinished. The temptation to complete them is so strong. It is so hard to leave an exciting work in progress. to share the stages and development of technique.

I am sure all artists  will understand that heady feeling of  the moment when everything is going absolutely right in a special painting.. The colour will be perfect,the shapes will form and you just know you have a winner on your hands. I did with the above daffodil painting. I just knew a few more  brushstrokes and I would have something terrific that I would love. But to add those brushstrokes meant I couldn't share how I start a painting and it also meant adding yet another finished painting to the book which would have no value for anyone wishing to follow my style.

Any book with the title " How to " has to include ideas exactly on that theme. How to do whatever the book  suggests in the title. As much as I would have loved to sharing many complete paintings would have been pointless and there was only so much space. This book was not about me or what I can achieve with watercolour. It  was and is about guiding the reader into trying to paint colour and light in a loose style in a way that is fun and attainable.

Writing has taught me self  discipline. It has taught me paintings in a book are not just about the artist as an author or how talented they are. It's about giving on so many levels. Giving ideas to others so that they too can share a passion. About sharing your technique and experience selflessly.

To have a book full of complete paintings may show the reader what an artist can do but it won't help show how they actually work.

And  so this morning I am sat quietly in my studio with a wonderfully half finished painting and I just know it makes my point so well for one  particular chapter in my next book. Just a few more brushstrokes and it will be complete and could go to a gallery. But right now it easily leads the eye into why I have chosen certain colours and defined sections against others that contrast. In my heart I know I need to leave it and share it as it is but it is so hard when the artist inside you is screaming for you to finish the painting and forget the book.

I'm going to try to leave it, my next book and  chapter wins!


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2 comments:

Roy The Artist said...

Thanks for having the strength to leave it Jean! Those of us learning from you benefit hugely. I must add something; something that you have embraced as a new author in this connected world. You have extended the book into 'cyberspace' we connect with you on FB and your blog we feel part of the journey. So we get to see the finished paintings because of your generous nature, I predict other writers of Art books are going to have to scramble to catch up soon! Authenticity shines. To have an Author respond to comments is huge. You deserve the success, this reader can't wait for the next book, and the DVD!

cheryl said...

Oh Jean you are so so right.I have purchased books like the ones you have described,I have read and re read and tried the instructions to work out how the artist/author has managed to achieve the painting but to no avail.Thats what I love about you and your way of sharing,you really do show and explain how and why you have got to that point in your paintings (online,in your workshops and in your book) so clearly and as I am someone who needs to understand the process, your way of explaining your unique way of creating really does help me understand the techniques and what the different stages of the pigments/wash can do so I thank you.I am so looking forward to your DVD and the next book and being with you in Sept.Enjoy Norway and take care.