It seems I'm drawn to subjects with strong value changes, and even though color may seem to be an important part of most of my paintings, I consider it secondary to value contrasts. This window in Buck County, Pennsylvania had just the right amount of strong light shapes next to some delicious dark shapes. That's what made me want to paint it several years ago.

I started by 'taping away' the very lightest shapes to keep them pure white. (Notice how much of the white window area is not actually totally white. Click on painting for enlarged pix.) My favorite masking tape to use for this is hard to find now - Manco tape. After I tape the lightest values, I wash a pale colorful wash over the whole page, making sure that I'm NOT careful to paint each 'thing' the correct color.

After the painting dries, I add more pieces of torn masking tape to the next lightest value areas, then repeat another layer of wash exactly one value darker than the first one - and just as colorful. I repeat this for five more layers of tape and washes, each time painting the whole paper one value darker everywhere using almost random color choices.

Obviously here, I made sure to place a lot of warm colors within the inside of the window area. There are also cool colors there along with some small, warm areas outside the window.

It's tedious to tear and shape the pieces of tape to fit the right spaces, and sometimes I cut with a razor blade to create a sharper, straighter line. Everywhere that the tape overlaps there's a good chance the paint will seep underneath it, hopefully creating somewhat of a batik effect. I love the unpredictable texures that happen with this technique, but the process is exceedingly slow.

The best part (and worst job) is to remove the tape after the darkest values have dried to see what happened with the various layers of color. The surprises are so cool. Usually I must make some adjustments or soften some edges. The results are worth the agony, I think.

"FRESH AIR" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 15 x 11" Collected


Dawn said...

ohhh really nice Sandy! your layering made the whole house have a history of paint and age. very nice!

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thanks for the copmment, Dawn. Our email has been down all day but I can get online and saw your comment. Hpefully the email will be back up tomorrow. This has not happened before. Weird.

Dawn said...

I will await your email Sandy!