More watercolor sketches: planning the paintings of 2014

Alpine Garden Watercolor, 2013, 6 x 8.25", Karen Gillis Taylor

Alpine Garden Watercolor, 2013, 6 x 8.25″, on Arches paper, Karen Gillis Taylor, click to enlarge view

I’m SO enjoying the making of these small color studies to explore my ideas before creating the large painting. I love the more intense blue accents of color in this one, such as below the walking couple and in the big tree to the right of them. Also the blues in the far upper right corner, looking misty or dreamy. The little bench in the lower right corner provides a destination for the focal point couple.

The texture of watercolor paper is the only thing that saves me from seeing the fluid medium race all over the page, out of control. I’m not trying to “color inside the lines” of ink, by any means, and like the way it spills beyond linear boundaries. It’s supposed to be loose. But before the wash goes too far, the absorbent paper (120 lb. cold pressed Arches Aquarelle) sucks up the moisture, and I am relieved. I keep a paper towel handy in case a renegade puddle seems to go too far.

The Arches paper mill (pronounced “ARSH” in French) was founded in Lorraine, France, in 1492. Remembering the childhood poem, that was when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, looking for a route to India for the spice trade. (Boy was he far off!) But the works of Voltaire and Napoleon’s Description of Egypt were printed on Arches paper, made by hand. I find this fascinating. I like to know how things are made*, especially if I am using these things to further make art. The mill is in operation today.

I understand that the Lorraine region is industrialized, but also is near the beautiful Vosges Mountains. (Well, sounds a little like Colorado and it’s Metro area.)

Vosges mountains

Vosges mountains, France

I am tugged back and forth between cities and countryside for art inspiration. This is not so surprising, it’s the story of civilization, of the way people live, move around, and inhabit their world. Today I am simply appreciating the country side of life.

Hey, do you gravitate to city life or country life? Where do you want to spend most of your days? Please make a comment below, I really want to hear from you!

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*Speaking of liking to know how things are made, yesterday I met a wonderful couple who work with the Batik artists of Java, Indonesia. I will share their presentation to our McCall’s quilting staff soon. These batik pieces of the highest quality were exquisite, wonderful to see first hand. And the story textile artists Debra and Michael told us of their experiences was even more exceptional. More coming soon!

Special artisan batik, Java, Indonesia

Special artisan batik, Java, Indonesia

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