Saturday, November 15, 2008

Drowning in Possibility

Yesterday, I pulled out all the loose paintings I had in a portfolio and sorted them. The yupos and tyvek paintings here - the ones on paper there. Then I went with a gut reaction to all of them and tore up about a dozen. They were bad. Really beginning stuff even though I might have done them just a year ago or less. Then I took the bad yupos and put them in the bathtub under water and scrubbed the color off (sometimes I had spray sealed them and it left a bit of that texture - interesting stuff I can still play with).

I pulled one piece of yupo aside that had textured places in varied shades of blue and beige/grey colors. I thought about what I could make of this.
Blues = water, right?
And since I want to focus on portraits and figures now, I decided to put a woman in the painting - in the water.

The title came to me: Drowning in Possibility.

This is just a precursor/study for a a painting I'll do on watercolor paper but I wanted to use the scraps of yupo right now to help me loosen up and think more (when I know I can wipe it off and start over, it frees me from getting so tense and tight and anxious about putting down paint).

I would appreciate any comments on this one.

And thanks to Sandy Maudlin and several members at WatercolorWorkshop, I made some teeny changes to Summer Girl. I think it's better now. I think it has more her look to it than it did (amazing how small little changes to shapes, shadows, etc. can make a person look like that person or just a little off).


Myrna said...

How about a more positive title like "Emerging possibilities" or "Rising to the surface". It looks intriguing. Keep it going!

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

Your Summer Girl was so good at first, now it is just that much better. This is really the best watercolor portrait I have seen for a long time, it just has so much life and vitality.

My first impression of the woman in the water is mixed. I think she looks a bit stiff (almost unconscious, with her eyes open, or like mannequin), or like she just fell in the water since her coiff is still intact. When you plan this for paper I think I would have one arm extended like she was doing the backstroke, something to give her more life. Make her hair wet, and do something about those haunting eyes. I love that you are using Yupo for this as you can lift out additional shapes easily.

I need to go through my old paintings (read that flops!) and see what can be done with some of them, they are a very real testament to any growth I have had! I prefer to look at them in a positive light instead of having a bonfire with them!

RHCarpenter said...

Well, Myrna and Susan, you both got the gist of this - the woman has drowned, she is dead as a doorknob, not living, swimming or breathing. She has drowned in possibility - probably because she didn't move, take a chance, change. So changing the title won't work and making her move lifelike won't work. But I'm glad to see I really stumped you on this one :) Perhaps I'm just in a macabre mood...who knows what will come next?

Susan, thanks so much for your comments on Summer Girl - I appreciate your support. Of course, I can't believe this is the best watercolor portrait you've ever seen - maybe you meant the best from me?

Nava said...

Rhonda, this "just a precursor/study" is actually wonderful! I hope they won't have to call the forensics on her

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Nava - CSI and Grissom are on their way! I will work on this a bit more, working out the floating hair, eyes, etc. and then try it on watercolor paper.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Oooh, Rhonda — this is a beautiful portrait, the Summer Girl. Nicely done! The study for the Ophelia is quite wonderful. Sometimes I prefer the first idea to any finished thing. Once I saw a show of Sargent's magnificent watercolor studies for figures he painted on the ceilings of the Boston MFA. Some years later, I saw the ceilings, which are impressive, but not nearly as much as the original studies.