Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Searching For Subtle Color



My barrier island is deceptive. It looks like nothing is there. Wide open spaces, plenty of sky, and muddy grey puddles on the leaward side. It looks calm. Idylic. Don't be fooled. It is teeming with life. Sharks swim in the water. Trout, redfish, and shrimp are plentiful. The grasses are full of redwinged blackbirds singing their song. The sand bears tracks of racoons. Pelicans fly overhead. I was told there were not many alligators anymore...somehow that was a relief. Sitting alone on a log drawing. Could have been a tasty lunch.

This is a place at the edges. Part sky, part water, part land. It has hidden treasures. Unexpected wonders. And danger lurks. It is at once peaceful and violent, as prey meets predator. So color needs to be subtle, yet speak of tension too. Why don't I just paint it? Just jump right in? Why all this exploring?

Ahh, remember, it's more of a story. I am after that core. I am trying to pretend I know nothing about this place, so I can see it with fresh eyes. I even hauled out David Dewy's book on watercolor. Me with all my professional experience, yep, looking with beginner's mind. Why? Freshness. No same old, same old. I am after what I don't know, or what I can tweak in another way. I never want to be stagnant, afraid, or rest on my credentials. That is boring. No breakthroughs to be had there. If I am good at what I do, something cool will happen. Why bother otherwise? And that sparkle in my eye...well keeping that is important.

So I am looking for subtle color that belongs to this place in particular. Color that has to be there. I want to strip away all other colors so you will know, ahh, she's been there, seen its essence, and now she makes it glow.

10 comments:

Amy said...

Just looking at your pictures makes me smile. :-)

I want that green journal. Where did you get that? (asks the chick who already has WAY too many journals)

Janice C. Cartier said...

6 bucks at the Stationer in New Orleans on Magazine Street some time ago. It is from a Milan company called Nava Designs. It's called Girare designed by Piero Polato , graphic darioSerio Which sounds made up but that is what it says on the back of it. :-) great for location. Okay, it's just cool and all. but the jacket folds over it and the strap keeps it all tucked in and protected.

I am a sucker for paper and notebooks... can we REALLY have too many?

ParisBreakfasts said...

Ooooooooooooooo
LOVE your puddles!
Makes me want to do puddles too...
regards,
Tomasina Sawyer

ParisBreakfasts said...

Ooooooooooooooo
LOVE your puddles!
Makes me want to do puddles too...
regards,
Tomasina Sawyer

ParisBreakfasts said...

PS
Your handwriting is as hard to read as mine is...the way to keep all secrets in plain view :)
DD used to say "same old, same old"
He is for constantly renewal too..
HUMPH!

Janice C. Cartier said...

PB-I cannot go for very long without playing in the puddles. :)

Gotta keep it fresh... explore...like new streets in a foreign country, or walking a different way home...something that has escaped us, might catch our notice this time.

These paints are just marvelous. BTW. :)

A Brush with Color said...

Wonderfully luminous puddles at that! I love it. I'd say you're succeeding at making it glow! Are those Kremer paints? I love their properties--they lift so readily, too, which I really like.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Brush- Those are Kremer. I use Schmincke and sennelier too but hese are so lovely to work with. I'll play with lifting a bit tomorrow with them. Looking for sediments too.

Anonymous said...

You can fake it, you know.

Those of us who have never been there, have no idea how barrier Islands are supposed to be colored.

And even if you don't get the color right, blame in Hurricane Katrina (or any other tropical storm)! :)

But I'm sure you can pull it off, regardless.


- Friar

Janice C. Cartier said...

Fake it?

Hm. But I am after a visceral response. And besides, these have to sway the powers that be. I want my island rebuilt.

No Friar, with this you get the real thing...and sandwiches... :)

Hm..I'll have to paint you a trout.