Last summer I took a weekend watercolor class with Angie Grainger. She has developed a very intriguing technique and I had been waiting to get into one of her workshops for a couple of years! Finally the door opened, and I learned how she uses natural and found objects, such as leaves and ferns, to make wonderful imprints in watercolor. In preparation for the class, I spent many weeks collecting, having no real idea how the items would be used in the class. Everywhere I walked and traveled to, I brought back home dozens of specimens – leaves and mosses, grasses, ferns, flowers, and even some bark.
Then I pressed them between the pages of huge art books to dry and flatten them. In the class, I learned how to pin them in place and pour and spray intense pigment paints so that the edges and veins of the leaves and flowers made impressions on the paper. So many varieties of shapes, colors, and blends!
The image above is on Yupo, a plastic substrate rather than traditional watercolor paper. It responds quite differently because it does not absorb the watercolor. You just have to wait for it to dry on the surface!
Once the paintings were dry, each piece was looked at, held in various directions, to see what shapes emerged. From there, many more options came to light. Each could be treated as a background or underpainting for further development, or maybe even be a finished work in its own right.
I settled on one background that had very little shape and design to work with, but which showed lots of fun texture. I used a negative painting technique to create pears. The final piece (above) was donated and sold at an art auction for TreeSong Nature Awareness & Retreat Center in Washougal, WA ~ their First Annual Forest Dreams fundraising event. I like the idea of donating my art for fundraising. It not only declutters my art studio, it allows me to share my art for others to enjoy.