Letting go creates perspective in art making
Crows are symbolically associated with an affinity to magic and life mysteries. They are also often associated with insight and higher perspective. Of course none of that actively influenced my choices when I was painting this image of a crow, but the process was an interesting one.
Lately I have been experimenting with adding various media to my watercolor painting work. I’ve been putting salt of various sizes, acetone (nail polish remover) and alcohol onto the wet page, allowing it to interact with the paint and water. The end results are always interesting but, most importantly, they are unpredictable. The beauty that comes from letting these additives have their way with my paint is undeniable. The knock-on effect that working with these techniques is that I have relaxed my approach to painting a lot, letting go of the control I go for in say, botanical illustration. Being unable to control what will happen on the page has inspired me to let go in my art, letting gesture, color and texture take more prominent place.
When you drop alcohol onto wet watercolor paint you get uncontrollable, but fascinating and sublime effects. These alcohol drops are an example of what can happen. The paint is pushed, gathered and gradated in an organic process the artist can only wait to see. This led me to paint in a more relaxed and uncontrolled way. My usual approach is tightly controlled and painstaking.
A fresh way to paint
This painting of a crow is definitely not tight and controlled. The end result is more gestural, more organic and is quite appealing for that. Perhaps the crow’s insight is that once we master technique we can let go to create art. I think it is part of the artistic journey to start to create more organically once the artist has some mastery of technique and knowledge about the materials. The best part of this is that there are so many more media to mix into my paintings…
It is going to be a very interesting journey from here on in!