Last month I set myself the challenge of creating 100 vignettes by Labor Day (September 2nd). This averages to 20 works of original art per month. So far all but one are around 5 inches by 3 inches. It’s a nice size to work because once the watercolor has dried it’s like having the most portable art studio possible. It includes the paper, a sturdy cardboard backing to work on, and the gel inks.
My favorite place to work on these is a local artisan bakery/café, Bread and Chocolate. I set up a small display of some of my bead weaving, lay out my gel pens and my paper and, with a hot coffee, tea, or chocolate for company, get to work.
Of course I hope to accomplish my stated challenge but there is also an unstated challenge. Each new work of art must be fresh, original, and thought-provoking. And unique. It doesn’t count if they start looking all the same. Besides, that’s no fun for me. There are themes occasionally: hearts is one purposeful theme. Mostly these are stream of consciousness after a bit of forethought and some rare planning.
The process starts with a blank sheet of watercolor or multi-media paper. I measure and lightly pencil in the separate rectangles that will be cut apart later. I go to my watercolors and choose some and then start laying down washes in all but one or two of the blank rectangles. Sometimes I draw on unpainted surfaces. Once, I liked the way the wash came out that I knew it didn’t need any more drawing.
After they dry I can pack up the paper with my studio-to-go. I usually work one at a time, after staring at the washes and letting one of them tell me what kind of beginning to make. Sometimes I have to argue with them. In the end, I have a collaboration between conscious and subconscious decision making (which seems to be the best way for me to work in general, not just with the vignettes).
Every Saturday, I upload a few more to “Watercolors and Ink,” an album connected to my facebook Page. Presently (15 April 2013) there are 26 vignettes in the collection. I hope you will follow my progress and cheer me on. And if you see something you’ve got to have, they are for sale.