The five paintings above, along with the reference photo, show my slightly different takes from one inspiration. I know that I've completed several more paintings of the same subject - one very dark and somber - one very, very colorful and patchwork quilt looking - and the rest I can't remember. For several years, I didn't take photos of my work, and now I regret that lapse.
All of these have watercolor in them and are more or less in chronological order, with the first one being painted about 15 years ago. It was done using masking tape to protect previously painted areas as I darkened more shapes to build up the painting. The tape's all removed now. It's a technique I continue to use today because I like the batik looking effect it lends to the painting where the paint leaks under the pieces of tape.
The second one is a collage with watercolor, using rice papers to build up texture on the paper. It was easy to create the delicious textures of those old walls with the layers of various rice papers.
The third painting was done on watercolor paper that had a layer of white gesso painted over it first. The paint 'floated' on the gesso-ed surface, drying in irregular ways that helped establish the textures of the walls and street.
The fourth painting began with one good white shape and three 'cool temperature' shapes touching it. The white shape went off the page on three sides, originally, but now is hard to find. The process of using a good white shape initially in the painting was a springboard to help establish a sense of unity and focus in the painting.
The fifth painting is the batik with hot wax that was just posted last week on this blog. Check out that post for more info about how it was done. When I see these five together, I think I really prefer the first one the most. Do you have a favorite? (I still regret having sold that first one.)
You'd think I'd be so tired of this painting by now, but I have plans for another approach --- or two or three dozen. Mike Bailey (click to check it out) has painted one still life over 90 times - so look out. I'm not anywhere close to that yet.
There are so many ways to approach this painting, and the only approach I've used so far is to try different techniques and design processes. I have yet to focus on an element of design as being more important that anything else --- and certainly texture would be the first element I would emphasize. And I haven't yet pushed the picture beyond the confines of realism. That's an aspect begging to be explored. And I don't remember ever painting the scene on YUPO, either. The things that await me in the studio....
But this next week I'll be away from the computer to challenge 15 other artists at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. We'll be using hot wax, four different rice papers, watercolor paints, fluid acrylics, canvas, and various inks as we explore other ways to create gorgeous batik artwork. It'll be fun to share some of their finished batiks here on my blog when I get back. See ya then.