Exercise: Exploring one subject in a variety of ways
This was the first of the exercises using mixed media and I found it the most exciting of the whole course. I have loved the pure watercolour and feel completely ‘at home’ with it after a long struggle. But what a glimpse of expanding horizons when I began to work in a variety of media. Suddenly the subject matter became the focus and the choice of media simply the tool to express ideas.
I decided to take as my focus for this exercise images of ancient trees. This has always been a huge interest of mine and I have collected some wonderful images of these trees over many years. The four paintings were great fun to do and the exploration of additional media was exciting.
These were all experiments and speak about the tree in different ways. The first three attempt to depict the tree at different times of the day – first, in the morning with the warmth of the day beginning, second, at twilight, and third, in the misty darkness of night. The fourth painting is hugely experimental and I have taken risks here. I’m not sure it works as an image but I was trying to find a deeper meaning in the tree as I was painting it. I guess it’s becoming more abstract.
So many effects can be achieved with the combinations of different media. It was good to take one subject and explore it through different combinations. Possibly the most powerful is the combination of the watercolour with the charcoal. I did find that watercolour struggles to hold its own with other media and its important to emphasise its special qualities.