One More Look at the Spatter-Dog Theme and a Little Bit about Waste

June 29, 2011

Above: The third "sketchy" and splattered dog. I continued using the same gouache colors and the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy Pen. This is also in my handmade Arches Text Wove/Velin Arches journal that is approx. 6 x 8 inches.

(See the previous two days for the first and second post on this theme/series.)

Working in a series like this on one theme gives you an opportunity to work with one medium in an intense way and get immediate feedback that is reinforced with more feedback. You can then act upon that feedback immediately. Working with a theme, such as a certain stylistic approach, and working with that theme in a rapid fire series done in the same sitting, allows you to weed out quickly what works and what doesn't work. Or it allows you to find a alternate approach to the one you're currently employing. Or it simply allows you more fun.

Note: You can choose to work with a restricted selection of media instead of one medium, or work with anything that is at hand. You get to define the task.

It can also tell you something about your own state of mind at the time of execution. With the three images I've shown you over the last few days you can see how the first image was my warm up, the second was what I consider my "nailing it" moment, and this third image is me pushing past the success of the second image to see what else I can do with the same technique and colors. I can see how I am getting tired at this point (it was 11:30 by this time) and even looser (which is a good thing for me). I'm also interested in being even more messy with the paints as they overlap on the body.

Working like this also allows you some focused time working with a limited palette. I could have put new paint out before beginning this sketch, but it was late, I knew it would be my final sketch, and I wanted to see what messes I could make.

A lot of people write to me expressing concerns about "wasting paper and paints." I always encourage them to do something like this because as you can see, I'm not concerned in the least about "wasting" anything. I'm using my time to experiment and I'm using up paint that was already on the palette. And as for the paper, well, for me journal pages are to be used and experimented on, which is the exact opposite of waste. So if you have issues about "waste" try a series to snap yourself out of it and get on to the learning you crave.

I feel that these three sketches have given me a lot of information and warant additional exploration in the future.

    • Miss T
    • June 29, 2011

    I know I keep saying it, Roz, but I’m really crazy about this series!

  1. Reply

    This is a terrific series! Good work.

    Right now I’m working my way through a pile of 30-year-old paper I inherited from a friend’s father. I know that they don’t make this kind of paper, and of this quality, anymore, so it’s very hard for me to make myself use it, but when I do, I love the results.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Miss T. I’ve got to do more! I’ve got to find some more dogs!

  3. Reply

    Maggie, thanks.
    And I’m glad you aren’t buying into scarcity and are using up the 30-year-old discontinued paper left by your father’s friend!

    I do not want to dissuade you from that path at all, but I do want to mention one little side path, if you can investigate without going into scarcity. Save a little bit of the paper, if it is truly wonderful for use at different times in your life.

    Here is an example of what I mean. I bought a bunch of discontinued paper that came from Barcham Green (a now defunct paper mill in England). I took all the sheets I purchased and bound them into books. I have two different types of paper for which I have several books each (I started with about 10 books of one and 15 of the other). The paper is so lovely there are some things I would like to do with some of the books—such as save them for a travel journal.

    So while working on the paper is heavenly I limit my usage of the books to one a year, sometimes two. Just so that I can enjoy the experience more, over time.

    I could of course use them all one after the other, but there is something delightful in having them doled out in this way. Also it fits with my changing paper with each journal method anyway.

    I have searched my heart and know there is no inkling of scarcity on this issue residing there so I know I’m safe. I’m not worried about wasting them, I’m just hopeful that I can enjoy the paper longer into my life.

    If you feel at all like that I suggest that you take a portion of the paper and put it aside for later use.

    If that seems a perilous edge with a drop to scarcity on the other side don’t do it.

    Or if the paper is really idiosyncratic and you are getting a handle on working with it—just go for it and use it all now. Sometimes getting adjusted to a paper again after a diet without that type of paper, can be more frustrating.

    So I hope I don’t confuse you. I’m glad that you are using this wonderful paper, and I’m sure your father’s friend’s spirit is glad to see the paper used.

    For me there are few things as sad (once we leave the large issues of disasters, destruction, poverty, starvation, abuse, etc.) as an empty blank book, that sits on an artist’s shelf and is never called into life. Every page is a missed opportunity as long as it sits there.

    I’m glad you’re calling this paper into life and I hope that you enjoy every moment you spend with it!

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