Short answer: you curate without mercy.
I spent the week alone. My husband was traveling and I stayed home with my pup.
Of course I had epic plans. And not because my husband wasn’t home, but because I was not going to follow a schedule of any kind. I would eat when hungry, I would sleep when sleepy. My titanic plan was to review all my watercolor work and curate it. Discard, throw away, classify and within all that try to notice the patterns and see if I can find hints of that elusive thing called “style”.
I accomplished part of it. Now I have a smaller pile of paintings I like. It gives me a few clues as to what I’m naturally inclined to work on.
During this process here’s what I’ve learned:
Most artists work in series, they paint several versions of the same thing or the same color palette or subject. I have never done that. I paint a one off thing and then my curiosity takes me to another in a different technique.
2. There is an element, line, expression, color that carries throughout your work, even if you paint a cow one day and a flower the next.
I’ve noticed this, I love the bluish-greyish-muddy tones that unite two bright colors. These tones are in almost every one of my textures and abstracts. They’re also in my portraits and my more illustrative work like my Grenoble paintings.
3. There is no waste
I’ve felt so tense when starting a new block of paper, a new sketchbook, because I don’t want to ruin it. I’m precious about the paper, but invariably, the first painting will be a warm-up. As I went through all my stack I noticed how many had been practice paintings. I wonder when I will cut myself some slack and just enjoy every bit of the process!
4. I don’t like to mix mediums too much but when I mix them in a subtle manner I love it. Or keep it pure.
In particular I love seeing pencil lines against watercolor (like in the above painting). This is definitely one element that I will keep. I’ve mentioned Marc Taro Holmes, who is my favorite watercolor artist in Montreal. He paints directly with watercolor with minimal or no pencil sketch. The purity of the blends and the amazing paintings that emerge are stunning. I aspire to that.
5. Words and pictures.
This is my happy place. Illustrated books for adults where the shortest line or paragraph takes my breath away and there is an image that goes along with it.
Last year during my 100 day project I started to create a series of postcards with words cut-out from magazines. Maybe I should pick up where that project left off.
A New Portfolio
After I finished discarding and classifying my work. I decided to reactivate my RedBubble profile to give some of these illustrations a home and build a portfolio.
Red Bubble has a nice interface which is both helpful as portfolio and collection building as well as a shop with high-quality products that I can’t make myself like mugs, chiffon tops, hard-cover journals, dresses and my favorite: floor pillows! I’m still working out the collections. I hope some of my more floral and dreamy work finds an echo among Red Bubble customers.
Since I don’t have formal studies in graphic or textile design, it is very difficult to asses which designs look better on what kind of product. On RedBubble I can see right away so I don’t have every artwork on every product. I am developing my eye to recognize the different categories like home decor, stationery, apparel.
Patterns are a tricky thing, they look beautiful and soothing on screen but as soon as you try them on different items you realize that they might not work very well for a dress but they look wonderful on a phone case.
So feel welcome to take a look and if you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it!