Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Aiming for Plein Air Watercolor Paintings Displayable Without Glass

Experimental watercolor painting from the 70's  upon which I build my current direction
Last week in preparation for painting outdoors, the studio window view was the subject for trying some prototype palettes where I mix tube or pan colors with diluted Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. This is a technique Professor Heidel introduced me to in a summer school class I took after graduation in the 70’s. I painted the picture of an adolescent dancer on the back of a 21 1/2” x 14” scrap piece of paneling covered with gesso.

This year now  approaching 75, I decided not to use glass and decided to incorporate some new products like absorbent ground for painting watercolors that can be displayed without glass.

The four window paintings soon became more than an experiment. Observations while painting the first painting (upper left), led me to seeing the similar shape of the brush bristles to the rhododendron buds. Then a neighbor pushing a stroller passed my view and I thought the child was a bud beginning to blossom. So I named the painting “Promising Blossoming”.
The second painting, “Creating by Cutting” is focused on telling what I am thinking in the painting process. In composing a painting I cut down my view to a few things or elements like colors shapes and lines.

 The third painting is “Connecting Releasing”.  Releasing balloons is joyous to me like letting go of control. When the painting was all but complete, I saw I could put a figure waving in the two windows across the way from me and the idea came to me of connecting and releasing as being important in the creative process. Releasing the critic while having little direction in mind, trusting the subconscious to take command while bravely putting down color and texture knowing the ideas will flow just as the theme evolved for this series of illustrating opposites in my creative process.

The fourth painting is “Taking and Sharing”, another title about opposites predominant in my painting process. I take ideas from nature and share them through my paintings.
Many more themes, colors and textures can be achieved with the beautiful transparencies and luscious buttery heavy body acrylic white or layers of absorbent ground. Especially advantageous to me is spending more time painting and less time cleaning glass. The finished piece is lighter weight making transporting and hanging shows easier.

There are some hurdles still remaining for me to overcome in learning to paint outdoors with watercolor thinned with acrylic paint mediums. The mediums can put a hard film over the paint in the palette rendering them unusable.  so I am trying to keep the watercolors separate from where I mix them with medium. Palette knife is an excellent way to move the pure watercolor to the mixing area where poured medium is mixed into it with a brush. Of all the pocket pan color palettes that I own, I selected two VanGogh palettes because each has a deep well in which the half pans sit.  I remove half the colors in each leaving deep wells for the medium.

Perhaps the best palette is the larger palette for tube colors because there is a trough at one end of  each of the five mixing areas where poured medium can be stored far from the pure watercolor.
When painting outdoors I will need a bottle for dilute medium and a bottle for water. I am nearly ready to paint outdoors.


Tabor said...

Interesting. I find I do like watching others paint!

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Me too.