Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I am excited to get started on this new challenge. It is an expansion of the December challenge. First and foremost, these challenges are things I have been wanting to explore for a long time but never have. I hope that you want to follow along and try them yourselves. You may use part of the challenge, all of the challenge, change elements to suit your own growth and interest, etc. I am interested in seeing where this takes you, so please send me your results, thoughts, etc.
The following are the rules I have set for myself:
1. Select an image to work with FIRST! Stick with the same image throughout the different variations. This will produce the most growth and creativity. The idea of one image is from Mike Bailey's Watercolor Beyond the Obvious course. It is a brilliant idea that he created. Always give credit where due.
2. I have taken 3 aspects of creating a painting, broken them down into subcategories and randomly selected one from each category, bundled them together and that is what I will incorporate into the painting.
First Category: the 7 elements of design....Line...Size...Shape...Direction...color...value...texture. The one that is selected randomly will be the DOMINANT ELEMENT for the painting
Second Category: Basic Compositional Design. Horizontal...Vertical...Pyramidal...Checkerboard...Asymmeterical...Staggered...Frame in Frame...Cruciform...Cantilevered...Radial...Floating. Different books and different artists have their own ideas about how these categories of overall design are labeled. I have chosen to work from the book by Marianne K. Brown called "Watercolor by Design" She has clear definitions of each of these categories and excellent examples of each. As we pick different ones, I will give you the description and some examples for clarity. You can see that it will be very challenging to take your image and redesign it to fit these different compositions. Much too easy to find an image to fit the design.
Third Category is Color. I have decided to work with the concept of a "Mother Color" for each painting so I put each generic color in the pot and you can decide which exact tube of paint you want to use. Example: Red Orange could be Cad Red Light, Vermillion, Scarlet, Quin Coral etc. The idea for this exploration of color comes from Stephen Quiller's book "Painter's Guide to Color". The idea is that you will have a harmonious color scheme if every color in the painting has a touch of the "Mother Color". This can be achieved in one of 3 ways. You could tone the painting first with a wash of the Mother Color. You could add a touch of this color to every other color you used in the painting. You could glaze the Mother Color over the finished painting.

Okay, here we go. There were more colors and compositions than design elements, so I evened everything up by duplicating some of my favorite design elements. I put each category on a different colored piece of paper then drew randomly, clipping the sets together and then picked a set. You can do this yourself, or just use the ones I have done.

The first set is: DOMINANT DESIGN ELEMENT: TEXTURE!!!!!! (I swear, I didn't cheat)

Pick any subject that interests you. I haven't decided yet on my exact image but think it will be a figure.

The photo I have posted is of my experiment with texture on canvas and then painting with watercolor. There are two basic texture categories.... implied visual texture (spattering, pattern, etc.) and physical texture which is what I have done here. I used heavy gloss gel spread with a knife, then stamped into with numerous items and also some Japanese patterned papers collaged onto the canvas with the gel. When it dried, I put absorbant ground over it. When that dried, I painted with regular watercolors.

On vertical designing: The Vertical forms should be dominant, however, other shapes can be introduced for variety but the vertical forms should be most obvious. You do not need to confine your paper to a vertical format but have strong vertical rhythms prevailing.

Now, to select my image to work with.....


Nava said...

Great challenge!

So - a series, plus a dominant design element, plus composition,. plus a color?? Very intriguing.

RHCarpenter said...

Sounds good, Myrna, and I'm anxious to see what you come up with BUT you were supposed to pick your subject before picking the other elements, right? :) I'll pick my subject, design, format, and colors today and see if they make me want to paint on this cold cold snowy day!

Myrna Wacknov said...

You caught me on that one, Rhonda. I was working on the concept over the hollidays and didn't have the image first. I didn't let the first pick of restraints influence my choice, however. I wanted to force myself to come up with creative solutions with the result of a unique painting. Something I would never have invented normally.

Sandy Maudlin said...

I'd like to be part of the challenge if that's ok. I'm not sure what the time constraints are, and don't know about downloading the photo of the painting. I think Rhonda would help me with that, though.
Let me know. I love the way you motive artists. EXCITING! And I've seen really wonderful growth in Rhonda's work by doing this.

Myrna Wacknov said...

Sandy, everyone would LOVE to have you participate. Your work is fabulous and inventive plus so many subjects and styles mastered! There are no time constraints. I am hoping to do at least one a week but you could take all month if you want. I am the only person who can put photos on the blog. You send your image to me by e-mail and I post it.

RHCarpenter said...

YAY! We've got Sandy to join us :)

I have my subject and elements chosen and am working out the design - the hardest part for me so far...

Marilyn Fuerstenberg said...

I was intrigued with Rhonda's three color challenge and would like to join in on this challenge. Hope it is OK to come in at this point.

Myrna Wacknov said...

Marilyn, I am more than happy to have you join in the fun. Anyone can jump in at any time. Hopefully the challenges stand alone as a project but also can build upon what was done previously.

Anonymous said...

These challenges are a fabulous way to spark creativity. I read about them on Rhonda's blog and had to click over to see more. Wonderful!

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