Sunday, August 7, 2011

ice cream, birds, and watercolors...

It was another hot week here in Michigan. Yes, I'm ready for fall. I'm ready for 60—70˚F weather. I'm ready for cool crisp mornings and cold dew on my car... but it isn't fall yet, it's just August.

So, in the mean time, I recommend sitting down and having a nice big bowl of ice cream every now and then. The greatest ice cream I have discovered this summer is Hudsonville's Orange Cream Swirl. If you remember or have recently had an orange creamsicle — it's like that translated into a tub of ice cream. It's delicious. Oh, and so is orange sherbet. Yes, I love that stuff.

Since I was drawing birds a few weekends ago, I decided to format some new pictures for sarahkdesigns:

say's phoebe | cedar waxwing
male northern cardinal | female northern cardinal


And then I worked on watercolors this week... which means I got out the salt, and the watercolors, and the gouache, and the brushes, and the paper, and conveniently used the empty tub from my orange sherbet to hold the water...

And after I use the salt I scrape it off the painting and reuse it... which is interesting, because sometimes it's covered in pigment and that transfers to the next painting.





details of some of the paintings of this week

And yes, I finally bought gouache. And decided to use it with my watercolors (although I did keep it on its own shiny new separate paint palette). I'm heavy handed with the pigment anyway - but it was interesting to see the white actually stay white when it dried.
(And for anyone uninitiated with my watercolor paintings - you can see the actual paintings here)

It's hard to explain making something abstract when you're not the stereotypical character archetype artist. I don't see the world through some narrow prism, and I don't think there's only one path to some ideal visual. When I sit down on the floor in front of the paper cutter with my paint and water and salt and brushes and paper - I have a vague idea of what I think maybe I'm going to do. But really, to a certain extent - whatever happens happens. And when I'm finally done putting paint on the paper or sprinkling it with salt - when I pick that wet painting up and set it down on the carpet to dry — I know it that when it dries it will look different from how it appears wet. Some of the salt will melt, some of the colors will run, pigment will be absorbed or overpowered by other pigment... and while some of it is knowable, there's a certain mystery and randomness to it.

So, the wet paintings sit there on the floor and I go to bed. And usually they're dry when I get up. And when I come home from work the next morning I scrape the salt off them and get to actually see the final result, which is the cool part. Because there's painting it and playing with color and juxtaposition and all that, and then there's finally seeing what it really looks like.

And then I have to sit there and name them all. Because, let's face it, I don't just ever paint one painting. Don't get me wrong, I like the paintings, but I can't imagine setting all that stuff up and having to vacuum salt off the carpeting for one painting.

Of course, I still have to do that vacuuming part.

So, stay cool and have some of your favorite ice cream : )

14 comments:

Kalyan said...

Nice work.

Bob Bushell said...

I'm coming to try your ice cream out, I won't be long. Your paintings are phenomenal.

Tabor said...

Salt and ice cream... all in one post. You are an artist!

Mary said...

I looove your bird art! wow. :) I think I would eat an entire tub of creamsicle ice cream, too. Thanks for visiting my blog! ~Mary

Catherine said...

All your art is always so beautiful Sarah! And the fact that you use your empty ice cream tub to help you create your work is truly a very good way to incorporate the 3R's of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse!!

A treat for the tummy, a treat for the eye and a treat for the environment! ;)

xo Catherine

Out on the prairie said...

I haven't eaten any homemade ice cream this year, but always have lots in mt freezer.I like the blue and yellow shades inthe one painting.

Montanagirl said...

I agree - salt and ice cream...what a combo. You're very creative.

Dawn said...

How about I sit and eat ice cream while you do the painting....These are beautiful colors!
I'm glad you used the ice cream tub!:) Makes it even more beautiful for some reason....
:)

Anna said...

The color combinations and textures that you have achieved are lovely!!! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

Holly said...

I didn't even know you could use salt with watercolors. The effect is gorgeous! I am just in awe of your work.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Love your birds, Sarah. They are beautiful! And I think your salt paintings are so cool. How did you ever discover that method! :)

Will be having the last of the Bunny Tracks ice cream tonight.

S. Etole said...

I didn't know the salt could be reused ... and I love ice cream!

Hilary said...

Your bird art is fantastic. Seeing this, I now know for sure that one of the birds we saw this weekend was probably a juvenile cedar waxwing.. that telltale bit of yellow on the tail. Nicely done. Please pass the ice cream!

*jean* said...

delightful birds! and good idea to reuse the salt!