OK, I ordered some new art supplies to jump start my creative process this fall - I'm trying out some YUPO, which is this great new (relatively) completely plasticized (poly-something) "paper" (substrate, really...) that I have seen other artists get some really interesting effects on... it provides a totally different surface for watercolor - pushes one toward more instantaneous work - and I really want to loosen up, although continue in my small format.
So when the huge sheets arrived (whee!) I just chopped up the first one into, like, eight pieces (which is still pretty big for me...) which came out to ~ 8 x 10, and marched it right over to the drafting table and grabbed a photo reference and started putting paint on it to see how it worked. It was a mind blower - every brush stroke left a texture (no smooth washes with this stuff) and I found you really can't glaze over: when you put color over another color, it just picks up the bottom layer and re-liquifies it... but this is good, it will make me get the right color right away! and work more directly. I'm always telling my students to "be brave" ... so now I have to.
So I messed around with that 8x10 sheet a bit and then decided to chop further - so now each 8x10 has been further chopped to 4 x 5, which is perfect for my work. In two days, I have overworked (completely!) one image (but learned a lot about what I can and can't do with it) and I am relatively content with the second image. I'm planning a series of peak foliage scenes - trying to keep the colors really fresh and maintain a regular brush rhythm. I'm using a #4 Robert Simmons white sable round - best brush in the world, points up like perfection. This image still needs some finishing touches in the foreground - I'm still learning how to make colors flow - but it's not bad for my first go.
Look around you - take a second to feel the wind on your face.