Here’s a gallery of my final ‘augmented’ tondos.
Adding ‘thicker’ watercolour paint essentially means adding more saturated colours to my earlier thin washes, but I would like to be a bit more inventive in this exercise. I could alternatively add other water based media (ink, gouache, acrylic), or coloured pencil, water soluble crayon, or marker pen. I could use oil pastel, or cut and paste painted shapes, add gold leaf, or stencil repeating patterns.
I went to see David Hockney’s work in Saltaire (near his home town of Bradford) today, and I loved his bright colours and the patterns and marks he makes in his backgrounds. I saw a large four panel folding screen, Carribean Tea Time. It uses mixed media, combining print and hand-painting with stencil and collage. In it he plays with perspective; he contended that traditional western perspective places the viewer outside the painting, and he attempts here to pull people in by subverting the rules; he makes objects further back larger rather than smaller, and receding lines (such as the back edge of the table below) longer rather than shorter. He uses triangles and square shapes to explore his pictorial spaces, and overlapping to create depth. Also in Caribbean Teaparty foreground objects are hotter in colour temperature (reds, yellows) than background elements (blues, turquoise), an aerial perspective device used to depict distance.
Starting with my Teabags tondo, I beefed up the watercolour washes, adding more saturated colour to the foreground elements, more detail to the patterns of bowl and tray, and darker tone to the tray to describe its form better. Then I used inktense crayons with a fine brush to add patttern to the birds on the tray, and finally watercolour pencil thickly hatched in to add tone and form to some of the elements in the bowl. Here are the before and after versions. Before the rework I felt the background tray and foreground bowl were almost two separate paintings, one placed in fromt of the other. Now I think the painting as a whole is better integrated.
Derwent Artbar water-soluble crayons were used to add thicker ‘paint’ to the Scissors tondo. Colours layered and blended, darkened and homogenised the marble floor, so it’s less distracting. The tabletop is brought into better focus and now appears more forward in the picture plane than the floor, and ligher and brighter, especially when offset by the black surround.
As noted in the log for Ex 4.1 I was reluctant to spoil the fine, delicate translucent watercolour washes of my Corner of a Room tondo by adding thicker paint, but inspired by Hockney’s Interior With Lamp, 2003 watercolur, I took the plunge and used gouache with a fine brush to emphasise and brighten foreground elements. As in Hockney’s Carribbean Tea Party, above, I’ve played with perspective and made foreground objects hotter in colour temperature. The whole feel of the painting has changed; the earlier version has a peaceful, restrained harmony; the new work has made it more vibrant and given it more depth.
The composition of Laundry tondo needed resolving, to give more weight to the right side. I used Unison soft pastels and Derwent pastel pencils in some areas, adding pattern and texture, and intensifying some hues. Im pleased I found a way to retain sufficient light areas while adding interest to them, influenced by looking at Hockney’s mark-making and also the tondos of Virginia Verran with their tracer-bullet dashed lines, their stripes, stipples, doughnut rings and other patterns and marks. The light areas in my tondo are also more vibrant now by being contrasted with darker darks.
I wanted to address the large sketchy green area on the left of the Washing-up composition, as well as playing with adding thicker paint. The block shapes of triangles, rectangles and the disc of the brush, seemed to invite collaged shapes to be added to the painting. Iain Andrews cuts and rearranges photocopies of an image to form the basisof his compositions. I traced my painting and then cut out the main shapes in lightweight, medium texture watercolour paper, painted them with gouache, and laid them on my oriinal thinly-painted piece. I found I’d just repllcated the colours and shapes which were already there, which seemed a bit pointless; I was also struggling with the composition, finding it very difficult to integrate the dishcloth area on the left. Laying a black oval paper frame over my circular tondo eliminated much of the dishcloth so encouraged by this, I continued in a playful Hockney-esque way to add oil pastel colour and pattern to my paper shapes, and laying them on the painting. Some got knocked slightly askew, and I liked the effect; I cut some of my shapes into smaller pieces, and laid them down leaving gaps where the original painting shows through. When I had a collaged painting I liked I pasted the paper pieces on with pva glue. Last touch was adding thick pva over the red brush and handle, and painting over it with shiny red enamel.
Now the composiion was looking too crowded in its black surround. Eventually I thought to remove the frame and this opened up the painting again. This was the hardest painting of the five to transform, but the struggle was worth it for the learning experience, even though it is perhaps not the most successful outcome.