April 17, 2016
Taking risks wouldn’t be risky if the outcome could be guaranteed. Even after spending hours on a drawing, I am committed to taking risks with the values and colors I choose to paint, even in watercolor when it means that the painting might have to end up in the dumpster sooner than later. I was thrilled with the direction my latest mandala/dala was heading …
until the second day when the risks I took resulted in pure ugliness. My attempts to save the painting made it even worse. It was so bad that I didn’t even want to cut it up to turn it into a sketchbook. I never wanted to see it again.
When I reach this stage, I have one more option before it ends up in the dumpster. I mix a wash of white gouache and give the painting one or two glazes of the wash to lighten the dark areas. This soften the sharp edges and abrupt changes in value and gives me more options for recovering life in the painting.
Next step is to establish the drawing and the movement through the composition, strengthening the design and fixing the design problems that occurred when I made hue and value choices that caused the piece to spiral into ugliness and disjointed composition.
At this point I draw using a carbon pencil rather than a graphite pencil to avoid the graphite sheen. The carbon lines will be a stronger element in the resolution of this disaster … I think. I’ve applied a bit more watercolor pigment to the center pods to see how well it works over the gouache washes. I’m putting it away for a week or two in order to have a fresh and optimistic attitude.