Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Magic Faces

Magic Faces.

When I lived in Dubai I used to teach at the Dubai International Arts Centre which at that time was in a beautiful location by the beach. I came into teaching purely because artists on workshops I attended there were fascinated by my approach and  requested I taught workshops and art courses. As I already had teaching qualifications I fell into the role quite easily and enjoyed sharing my passion for watercolours with so many wonderful people. As my techniques grew along with my knowledge for the medium so did my classes.In each class I could always be heard saying " I see a face" when I looked at first washes which to others could simply have been seen as mere " blobs" of colour.

When I demonstrated at Yew Trees in Hampshire earlier this week the same thing happened. I was sharing ideas for starting a painting and also looking at how pigment works with water. A small amount of two colours merged and as they dried I saw the impression of a very interesting face. Behind me the class thought the  face looked like the Shroud of Turin. They too could see it.

When I returned to my studio I added colour gently to where I saw the face appearing  and a few details  that I knew would bring the study to life so that I could share it on my blog and here it is.

Face Appearing from a simple drop of colour demonstration.

I couldn't resist  the urge to age the gentleman so added a small white beard and moustache last night. I was returing to my time in Dubai by doing so and many happy memories flooded back to me.

"Wisdom in Years" 
Seeing what is in front of your eyes and acting on it led me to  painting this face.

I love painting faces. I always have. My " Magic Faces" as they came to be known by in Dubai soon became collectible selling well in galleries and ending up in homes all over the world.  I may continue with this face but  he has inspired me to paint others. Maybe I needed a nudge in this direction as it is where my heart lies. I am listening to what my beloved medium is telling me.

Out of interest maybe you would like to see exactly where the face first appeared from a smudge of colour. I was demonstrating how to start painting daffodils and  muscari on a large piece of  white paper. He " fell" into the middle.

Mystery man appearing amongst a flower demonstration.

I have a lovely reputation that when I take a workshop you never know exactly what will happen or what will appear. Even if you think you are only going to see animals or flowers!

Taking advantage of what the medium throws our way rather than  aiming to  continually control it really is a wonderful way to work.

This way magic can and DOES happen.



Anonymous said...

I so heartily agree with you about letting watercolor flow and following where it leads. My landscapes are often painted in this way, although it can be a bit hit and miss for me.

Yesterday for the first time in years I actually sketched (a harbour scene and some buildings) lightly on paper first... and although I'm fairly happy with the results and worked very loosely, it did feel a lot like painting by numbers!

I adore this face, and am so inspired that you shared this with us on your blog.


Cheryl said...

Thank you for sharing again Jean not only the creative process but your thoughts and precious memories and arent you mirroring life with this way of being.If we learn to open our senses and listen to what the world has to offer we may find the magic.

Mary McAndrew said...

Jean I loved this post, thanks so much for sharing,lucky I picked it up on facebook! I used to be so much looser with my watercolors because I was painting large and free. But lately have been just doing small field studies. Seeing what you're doing is refreshing and reminds me that I should get back to trying some large and 'loose' paintings!

Marie Theron said...

Because it is a fluid medium, these happy accidents occur all the time. You are very good at sensing something coming up out of the flowing paint and then developing it!The face became someone you vaguely knew in Dubai, I think! Fascinating!