“Waterfall on Khadi”
I submitted this painting into last year’s 2021 TWSA exhibition. However, it was not accepted into the show.
After a fresh look, I had a decision to make: do I let it stand on its own merits, or make some adjustments?
I could see it needed some improvements, so I added some definition to parts of the painting to get a stronger center of interest. That did not work. Major redo is the decision!
The title of the painting refers to the watercolor paper that I used –Khadi, which is hand made in India. This paper is very different than any other paper that I use. It has a lot of surface sizing and almost no internal sizing.
I decided that the “greenery” in the upper part of the painting was too isolated and therefore had to be repeated elsewhere or eliminated. I did not see any logical place to repeat the greenery, so I decided it had to be eliminated altogether. I started by wetting and then blotting the upper right corner of the composition. That removed some of the pigment, but not enough, so I decided to try a more abrasive scrubbing pad which removed most of the pigment.
At that point, I decided that scrubbing the rest of the painting was safe so I did some heavy scrubbing in the top part of the painting and a lesser amount in the bottom portion. I then dried the painting with a hair drier. When throughly dried, I sprayed the entire painting with a strong solution of sizing -gum arabic. Without this sizing, the paper would soak up the paint like a blotter which would make it very difficult to control the edges of the rocks and water.
Without the greenery, the composition needed to be adjusted. I added more and darker rocks and changed their sizes in the upper portion of the composition. At this point, I was no longer concerned about the transparency, so I added some white gouache paint mostly in the water to create more drama and movement.
With the addition of the opaque paint, it gave me the ability to work transparent, translucent and opaque to achieve the movement of the water and the realistic affect of the water as it flows and is interrupted by the rocks.
To achieve the darker values, I used a pigment given to me by my watercolor students–Yeliseyev Indigo, by American Journey. I am always concerned about the permanency of the pigments that I use and checked the label to see what kind of pigment it is.
The Yeliseyev Indigo is a combination of PB27–Prussian Blue, which is permanent, and PV19 –Quinachradone Rose, one of the many new pigments that has been certified as permanent and PBK6 which is Lamp Black.
One note about the color black. I NEVER use black in my paintings and discourage the use of black to my students. To quote Leonardo daVinci:
“Black is like a broken vessel, which is deprived of the capacity to contain anything.”
Why I never use black:
The end result is a painting I believe is much better than the original.
Next step is to try this on some of my other failed paintings on different papers.