Sometimes I take a break from working on paintings where I am trying to make water sparkle, or make trees look like the sun is shining through, where I am focused on creating the subtle colors of clouds or just the exact way a shadow might look in a group of rocks. Sometimes I let my brush do a little dance on the paper, without a preconceived plan — just getting into a flow — letting the brush do the work.
If I’m lucky, I end up with a happy little accident that speaks to me and asks me to continue. Such a thing happened with this little painting.
One day while waiting for another watercolor to dry, I took an eighth sheet of paper (7×11) and simply let a round brush create a few blue and purple lines. Just for fun. I looked at it a bit, decided I liked the shape, and added the drippy part at the bottom (a technique I learned to love in my watercolor classes with N. Eric Oback at San Jose State University in the late 60s). Later, I put it on a shelf where I could just look at it for a few days. Hmmm, I thought… it seems like a landscape to me! After several days of of lateral observation, I decided to replicate the drippy part with a hint of yellow … just a bit of sunshine, then added just the tiniest touch of orange peeking over the mountain.
There is a school of thought that says the whole paper should be covered with paint, but I am a real fan of white space. I love working with negative space, letting white space become just as important in a composition as the colored space. In this little painting, I think the white space is just enough to balance the color. I love the composition, the inference of landscape and sunrise, and the minimalist use of color.