Thursday, August 14, 2008

"do studies, not pictures"




Three little 5.5.x7.5 starts made on my obligatory one-hour afternoon break from work!

What's almost as good as painting? Reading about painting. When I first began to paint again I had a copy of Charles Hawthorne's Hawthorne on Painting; it recently resurfaced. Funny, after not noticing it for years, there it was.
The quotation in this post's title is from the introduction.
There's great advice on every page, especially, in my biased opinion, in the chapter on watercolor.
There is too much to quote here, but here're a couple of recommendations that seem to speak to me where I am now: "Let a watercolor get away from you. If you can't get it back, try another" and "Don't have any particular system about water colors, no special hours to do them in. Go at it when you feel like it."
(See the Hawthorne quote in my banner too!)
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11 comments:

Suzanne McDermott said...

Love the last one (but I would). I have that Hawthorne book on my shelf. I'll have to open it!

Ruth said...

It's wonderful to have that kind of inspiration.

Cathy Gatland said...

These studies are delightful - I often prefer the doodles in my sketchbook to the determined attempts at proper w/c technique. The medium does seem to demand a certain nonchalance, so these quotes are worth remembering!

Vivienne said...

I love the studies too, and the 'less is more' feeling - so free and clean. Hawthorne sounds good. Will look out for him. A teacher I had says "Don't try to make Art!"

A Brush with Color said...

They are great quotations. Isn't it strange that I find it hard letting the watercolor do its own thing, but I love most when it does! Gorgeous studies...

Don said...

Imagine a watercolor getting away from you and taking on a life of its own. This sounds like a children's picture book waiting to be written and illustrated!

"It all started with a simple outline of a cloud..."

shicat said...

I like the idea of studies. It takes the pressure off. After all it's just a piece of paper and a difficult but glorious medium!

Mineke Reinders said...

Wonderful studies! And very good advice, too, thanks for passing it on.

laura said...

Hi Suzanne and Ruth.
The Hawthorne book is practically a collection of inspirational, and directive!, aphorisms--a little jump-start, to thought and practice.

Cathy, I often prefer studies and unfinished paintings too: should be an impetus to leave more things "un"done! I agree, "nonchalance" is the perfect word for what's needed!

Vivienne--I think there's a quote (or two!) expressing the same idea in the Hawthorne book! I should write that at the top of my easel!

laura said...

Suzanne--I agree, it is hard to let the paint do its own thing, even though, when I can manage it, I'm generally pleased! It's like all of learning about watercolor painting is learning to let go of control!!

Great idea, Don--you should write it, and illustrate it too! I would love to see it!

Shicat--yes, though even when I call them "studies," I wonder if I ever really escape the anxiety to do well! Must be some inescapable early training!

Thanks, Mineke ... It really is a good, and very brief (and inexpensive!) book; highly recommended!

Sharon said...

The colors in these studies are just fabulous, bright and so fresh.

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