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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

All the Right Pieces

I am embarking on a new creative adventure. Actually, it's an old adventure, only this time I am using the finest materials. 

The materials you use frequently dictate the outcome of a creative act. Not always, but often. Crappy
materials make for crappy art. The colours, the scale, the texture, all these and more must be wrestled with and fought to even come close to the results you wish to achieve. 

How much better it is to use materials which become invisible as you ask and answer your creative questions! Good materials make your art flow. Cheap materials draw attention to themselves and to your unsuccessful struggle. 

When you are first learning to paint, the temptation is always to buy student grade colours because the investment is low. I beg you, do not make this mistake! It is better to have just a few of the finest paints than to have an entire palette of crappy ones. 

When I have a new material, say, a new watercolour, which I have never used before, I like to put it through its paces. I paint my little grids, over and under painting it with other colours, going from full intensity to a near wisp of a wash. I paint my little wreaths to get a feel for how the paint handles in a tightly controlled situation. I apply it very wet to the paper to see how it dries.  Does it lay flat or does it pull out to the perimeter?

New materials are always an adventure. I once bought a shade of green blue that looked delicious inn the store but which ended up being a huge disappointment to me for years. That is, until I went to Venice, and discovered that my orphan colour was exactly what I needed to depict the Adriatic waters. Now it is one of my favorites. 

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