|Illinois Fields #1 - Watercolor on 140# Arches Paper, 12x16"|
Wet-in-wet is the ultimate watercolor technique for grown-ups who've never quite gotten over playing with their food and who wish that they could forever use finger paint. In its most simple form, the painter wets the paper and puts colors into the wet surface. The painter can then tip the wet paper to make the colors run together, run off the paper, and, sadly for parents, onto the floor. In its more controlled and elegant uses, painters wet individual large, small, or tiny spaces and mix multiple colors, creating amazing and beautiful shapes, textures, landscapes and detailed work.
Wet-in-wet is new for me, by I knew right away that the Fields of Illinois would be the right venue for exploring it. Flying from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, I saw mile after mile of fields which had no snow, only stubble. Whether it was the particular old crop, the condition of the soil, or the vagaries of light, each patch looked different from the one next to it.
I sketched and noted "wet-in-wet," and shades of brown, tan, green, and gold. Sadly, I didn't note with precision how to suggest the water. I first painted it very dark and then carefully knocked it back with clear water and a clean brush. I followed up with Daniel Smith Duochrome Cabo Blue, which shines like a river.
Although I won't abandon the intensity of the geometric abstract nanoscapes, I am glad to have discovered a new world of gentle geographical abstraction to explore.