Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nanoscapes painted in March: raindrops, glass mosaics, and nano-landscapes

I paint every day whether at home or on the road. After making 9 Pass the Baton presentations at 8 law schools in 6 states, March 2011 had some elements of blur, but paints, brushes, and paper travel well, and nanoscapes stayed with me.  
The Raindrops of April
Original Watercolor NFS

The day-by-day nanoscapes' series that I have posted to Facebook since the Pumpkins of October 2010 (individual post cards) continued with the Raindrops of April. Since January 2011, I painted each month's images directly onto a single sheet of watercolor paper, and PhotoShopped the individual images for Facebook. Lugging a large watercolor block around the country is out of the question, so I paint them all at home. Some of the drops had their travel adventures in April when they breezed through airport security on a flash drive to be posted from Moscow and Boise Idaho where I spoke at both campuses of the University of Idaho College of Law. Two campuses and two time zones.  

Glass Mosaic #2
Original NFS
Prints available
Glass Mosaic #1
Original NFS
Prints available
The Glass Mosaics are gleeful explorations of a very traditional watercolor technique called "wet in wet." I gridded the paper with a #6 HD pencil, and then added a blob of clean water to each box -- one at a time, the old fashioned way. Then I dripped in between one and three colors,  manipulating the drips to fill out the rectangles. Daniel Smith's Primatek and Duochrome colors, which create metallic, shiny and granulating effects, make the rectangles look like glass tiles. A very pale green/gray mix hints at grout.

As much as I admire glass and tile, working with the real thing is off my life list, which is now limited to activities which require neither safety equipment nor liability waivers. One more of the Privileges of Chronological Enrichment.

Nebraska Fields From the Air.
140# Arches Paper Watercolor 12x16
Original $300
Illinois Fields From The Air
140# Arches Paper Watercolor 12x16
Original $300

As Washington DC suburban native and a confirmed urban dweller who gets nervous out of sight of tall buildings, my direct farming references are limited. My own gardening efforts culminated in an Obsessed Gardener's 26x92 foot garden in Baltimore that had crocuses in the lawn, 40 rose bushes, dozens of daylilies, and a lawn that could be cut in 30 minutes with a well-sharpened hand mower. My garden philosophy, focused on flowers, herbs, and garden treats (grape tomatoes) was "Start with wretched excess, and scale up." No fields. No crops. No plowing. No worries about terrain or runoff. 

My eyes are now wide open. On my travels in large and tiny planes, I often take the window seat. Flying over Nebraska with no reference point or vocabulary word for "contour farming," I started muttering "nanoscapes! nanoscapes!" and grabbed my pencil and drew like a madwoman. I began painting
Nebraska Fields From The Air in November 2010, and it is a true nano landscape, focused on bright colors and shapes. Illinois Fields From The Air benefited from the Glass Mosaics' wet-in-wet experiences, and my field notes from the air say "shades of brown, tan, green and gold! Make it shiny!"

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