I'm using some new paper. It's soft press rather than cold press. So the paper is smoother and lets the paint sit on top of it for a while before it absorbs. I like the smoothness. For a while I've resisted the smooth paper, but now I'm into it.
I also bought some new paints. Holbein Antique Watercolors. They're suppose to be traditional chinese colors. A lady at the store showed them to me, and I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm trying to use more vibrant colors. Lately I feel like I've relied too much on pure black and browns. Need some new life!
I've also started drawing out the image with light pastel and painting from there. And let me tell ya, i'm hooked. I feel like it gives me so much more freedom in the painting. I put the pastel on a long stick so I can stand back while I draw. This has really made a difference in the proportions. It's not that it has made the translation more proportionally accurate. But it has given the large pieces the same loose confident quality. Big difference. I also like that the chalk lines resist the watercolor, so I get some nice streaks that break things up.
But here's the part where I'm having problems:
I love this paper so much. It's smoother and doesn't buckle. The roll is 10 inches wider than the kind I used to get, so now I have more room to paint...
Annnnnnnnnnnnnd now I don't want to cut them up.
I started cutting them up initially to make the images bigger and to help me translate each piece of the drawing into a painting. But now I feel like I understand how to do that. The cutting up helped me a lot. It allowed me to slow down and manage each piece of the image. But now I understand how to do that and can't resist my urge to keep building on one piece of paper until the whole image is complete.
I'm not sure what to do about that. Because it feels really right and I feel like these last two paintings have been a major breakthrough. They're better than my paintings before the cut outs, and they're better than any of the cut outs i've made so far.
I want to commit to this collage project, but I don't want to deny what feels right. So I'm going to feel these next few pieces out and make them as solid as I can as a single piece. After a few solid single pieces I'm going to try another collage.
I believe that these single pieces will inform the new collages and perhaps make them stronger than before.