Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A new thing: Haiku Colors, miniature watercolors

photo of three small paintings with a pencil and a bowl for size comparisonHere's a new thing I've been doing lately. These are very small watercolors, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", painted on either illustration board, bristol stock, watercolor paper or something Strathmore calls textured paper; I call them Haiku Colors. I have been enjoying painting them. I work on a number of them at the same time, keeping them going over many sessions, feeling for what they need for balance, energy, aliveness and depth.

I will add a sidebar explanation of these pieces, soon. Above you see the first three I finished, with some other objects to give a sense of their size.

Here's a closer look at the first one:

Sky Dance, a miniature watercolor, aqua and orange-gold with circles and flowing squiggles
Sky Dance, 2008

Again, this is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", watercolor on bristol stock. For me, this gives a feeling of lush abundance, liveliness and excitement, and stretching.



Antonio Estevez said...

this is a wonderful idea eileen. offering some lovely, fluid works for a reasonable price.

Ive been considering doing the same, but find it difficult to work on anything smaller that 9X12, or 11X14.

how do you do it?

Lend Me Your Eyes Blog

Eileen Hale said...

Hey, Antonio! Thank you so much for your comments!

What it takes to do small watercolors (I'd recommend watercolors for this, rather than oils or acrylics, but maybe that's just me): 1) 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" stock, called Artist Trading Cards, made by Strathmore - I've seen them in a wall display, with different kinds of stock; 2) a small set of watercolors, with a small brush - Winsor Newton makes a couple of Cotman sets, with 12 or 16 colors, and a travel brush - and maybe a film can for portable water; 3) time at a restaurant, waiting for your food, or at a doctor's office, waiting for an appointment; 4) just wanting to hold that brush, get it wet, pick up some juicy colors and make some marks on paper.

I've done a lot of waiting-in-restaurants and waiting-in-doctors'-offices painting. For this it's good to choose a doctor or dentist who keeps you waiting - or get there extra early. Since the latter is not something I generally do, I go for the former.

One last item: I now have little stacks of my in-progress little paintings in a small box I recycled from something else, so I can carry them around with me, along with my travel paint set. (I do also work on them at home.)

I hope that helps. I think once you find your way into this, you'll find your way of working. Actually, I applaud your preference for more room to work - I read something once that indicated that the size of one's handwriting correlated to one's self esteem, and the amount of living-space you felt entitled to take up in the world. This made a lot of sense to me - I have very small handwriting - and I think this would apply to the size of one's paintings as well - so the thought of expanding that self-allowed living space is an attractive one.

Hope you have fun with it!