My two cats Silky and Salvatore, conscientiously woke me at 6:30 this morning to save them from certain starvation. Last week, before we moved the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time, it was light at 6:30 a.m., this week it’s dark as pitch. After feeding and petting the cats, I ensconced myself at my computer by a big window to begin my a.m. routine as the daylight worked it’s way to Florida. Even though it was still pretty dark, I could see the squirrels were up and running, the school busses were on their way to gather students, people were on their morning run or walk, and birds were chirping. Squirrels, cats, and birds, aren’t beholden to clocks, appointments, and time, of course, but most of the rest of us are. The ‘time’ changes…the schedule does not.
Here is one of my watercolor on tissue paper paintings titled ‘Tranquil Angel’ where the technique was inspired by the ancient Zen meditation ritual where monks gazed at crumpled, white rice paper until a vision appeared. See more of my work for sale on Etsy at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com where for a limited time I’m offering free shipping on all purchases, just enter the coupon code FREESHIP4YOU at checkout.
It’s a very unusual Seattle-esque morning for Celebration….dark, gray, drippy rain, people with umbrellas hurrying by. I can almost pretend I’m back on Queen Anne Hill looking out my window over the canal at Fremont, watching the university rowing team go gliding by. One of the many differences here in Florida is that by tomorrow it will be sunny and in the high 70’s….maybe even by this afternoon !
Did alot of painting yesterday, and have more to do today. Happily, I always have more painting to do. I have taken breaks from painting in the past, but have always known I would return, and don’t know what I would do if I didn’t paint. Sometimes I fret about what might happen if I couldn’t paint. I pull myself out of those projected thoughts as quickly as possible, and replant myself in the happier here and now where I can paint :}
One of my favorite watercolor on tissue paintings titled wild Iris is shown below. The process I use for all the watercolor on tissue paper paintings is inspired by the ancient Zen meditation ritual in which monks would crumple, then smooth, a piece of white rice paper, and gaze at it until a vision appeared. In this process, the image is given to me, rather than me deciding on what to paint. See more of my work for sale on Etsy at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com where for a limited time I’m offering free shipping on all purchases, just enter the coupon code FREESHIP4YOU at checkout.
I keep my bedroom window blinds open so I can see the sky, and the weather first thing in the morning. This morning I saw a half dozen or so, colorful hot air balloons drifting by in the dim, early morning skies. By the time the cats convinced me they were starving and that I should get up and feed them, the sun was up, skies were blue, and birds were chirping.
It’s going to get colder in the next few days, so today seems like a perfect day for some plein air painting. I’m going to take my paints and drive down the road a bit to see what appeals to me, and paint it :}
Painting en plein air in Florida is sometimes a little tricky with the weather. My impressionist landscapes are thickly painted with a palette knife, and the paints are affected by the humidity, wind, heat, etc., so I kind of get it while the getting is good re the weather. I can work on the Zen inspired watercolor on tissue paper paintings regardless of weather, as those are done indoors, but oil paints are susceptible to the elements. So, off I go to see what I can see.
Here is another example of my watercolor on tissue paper painting, inspired by an ancient Zen meditation ritual. See more of my work for sale on Etsy at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
When I go to the Farmer’s Market here in Celebration, Florida, on Sunday I meet, and speak with, many people about my art. I enjoy talking with people, and often learn new and interesting things.
The Zen inspired watercolor on tissue paper paintings I do seem to fascinate people in a different way than the more traditional impressionist landscape paintings I have for sale.
People often take photographs of the watercolor on tissue paper paintings, and want to find out exactly how they’re done. They ask how I began doing the tissue technique…..how it was inspired by an ancient Zen meditation ritual…..what actual materials I use…..how I ‘see’ the image……what the step by step process is….what ‘gesso’ is…..what non staining colors are…..how long it takes…what kind of tissue to use….what to put the tissue on, etc.
I see many people’s eyes glaze over when I explain there is no advance plan for the image, that the image is determined by the random application of the tissue paper….that I ‘see’ the image sort of the same way you might see shapes in clouds :}
What amazes me is that after going through my explanation of process, and answering their questions, that probably about 80% of the people who have asked these questions will say, ” Oh, I’ve done that ! ”
Most people I speak with then describe tissue paintings they have done, or seen done, with imposed images or abstract designs, rather than images inherent to the way the paper is randomly applied. It’s not better , or worse….it’s just a different process. Sort of like apples and oranges, but maybe more like apples and Buicks :}
Below are some more of my watercolor on tissue paper paintings….see more of my work for sale on Etsy at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
Selling at the Farmer’s Market this past Sunday, I was asked why I put colors like lavender in the sky, or a line of vermillion down the side of a tree trunk, when they are obviously so far from ‘reality’ ?
I answered something about light refraction, contrast, and complimentary colors, all of which could be true. Maybe that is why I put lavender in the sky and vermillion down the tree trunk. Don’t know…not sure.
Embarrassing though it may be, I don’t paint with much conscious thought to what I’m doing throughout the process. I know what I want to paint, and what I want to see. I keep aiming in that direction until I get there, or somewhere else that I like visually. I’m not attached to one way, one version, one image, or one method of achieving the end result I want.
On a more conscious level, I think it’s just an extension of me working to keep my life and perspective ‘Disney’…..that is to say, happy. That’s why I live in Celebration, eat cookies in bed, don’t watch the news, and put lavender in the sky, just because it’s happyizing. :}
Below are some of my watercolor on tissue paintings, inspired by an ancient Zen meditation ritual that fascinated me, where the monks crumpled a sheet of rice paper, flattened it, then meditated on the folds and creases in the paper until a vision appeared to them.
See more of my work for sale on Etsy at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
I’m in the beginning stages of some new watercolor on tissue paintings. I have prepared the support for the tissue paper with a few coats of white gesso, and have applied the random layers of crumpled, and smoothed, tissue paper to the support. Next, I paint over that with more white gesso and let it dry. This method is inspired by an ancient Zen meditation ritual in which the monks would crumple a piece of white rice paper, smooth it, then meditate on the shapes of the folds and swirls left in the paper until a vision appeared to them….much in the same way, I meditate on the white gessoed surface until I perceive an image in the random folds of the tissue….then light washes of color are applied and strategically lifted, and progressively an image emerges. The thing is, it is very often not the image I had perceived. There begins the battle for me to release my perception, and accept the reality of what is inherently there, not what I think is there :} I could simply lay the tissue on the support and paint a picture on it, using the tissue only for a textured effect, without searching for, and using the image already there. That has no resonance for me..no beauty of struggle, or sense of mystery…..so, slow learning human that I am, I begrudgingly submit to the intrinsic image that emerges and I am never disappointed. Below is one of my unexpected watercolor on tissue images. See more of my work for sale at www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
The ancient Zen meditation ritual that inspired my watercolor on tissue paper paintings involved the monks crumpling a sheet of rice paper, then slightly smoothing it out. They would then gaze at the curves and folds left in the white paper until a vision, or image appeared…. I was intrigued by this, but I wanted to ‘capture’ the image on the paper, and I wanted it in color….. first, I began experimenting with different methods of identifying and defining the image after it had been discovered in the field of pure white folds and curves . I use many layers of tissue paper laid on a rigid support, and equally as many layers of gesso, so the tissue paper will accept paint without disintegrating. I am excited each time to be finished laying down the tissue paper and get on with the first light washes of color, because I know there is always a new painting waiting to be seen that has nothing to do with an agenda of mine…no plan, no pondering…just random placement of partially crumpled tissue paper. The painting below is titled Perennials….see more of my work at http://www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com.
Here are some recent impressionist oil paintings done with a palette knife for thick impasto that I’ve completed….there is a distinct difference in process and mindset from the Zen inspired watercolor on tissue paper paintings. I thoroughly enjoy both types of painting….the watercolor on tissue technique, which is inspired by an ancient Zen meditation ritual, is somewhat like a slow, easy float down a calm stream….while the plein air landscapes, and studio paintings, are like crossing the stream quickly by hopping the stones to keep your feet dry….I don’t always have the luxury of leisurely floating down the stream, so I shift gears and start hopping across the stones to pay for the gas. :} See more of my work at http://www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
I’m always ready to paint, but the reverse isn’t always true….painting isn’t always ready for me….whether it be the lighting, the landscape, the tissue paper, or the colors, sometimes ‘things’ just don’t cooperate the way I think they should, and I find myself in a battle of manipulation….being human, I’m a slow learner and it takes me time to come around to the point ( again ) where I realize that resistance is ridiculous. Practicing the Zen inspired watercolor on tissue paper painting technique is much like meditation to me, and asks that I do the paintings the way they are presented to me…no personal inspiration required, just use the somewhat elusive ability to detach from what I want to do, and enhance what is shown to me in the tissue paper through application of color :} Summer Sunset is a watercolor on tissue painting that reminds me of those last moments lakeside before dark when the Fireflies start to come out. More of my paintings can be seen at http://www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com
I never tire of painting. I’m especially fascinated by the Zen meditation ritual inspired watercolor painting I do on tissue paper …I am always surprised by the outcome, because rather than me looking for inspiration or ideas, the images reveal themselves after a process of applying and lifting color from the prepared tissue paper. Once the image has been revealed and loosely defined, the evolution into the final image through color, definition, and highlights begins. Summer Pond, 6″ x 8″, was one of my earlier watercolor on tissue paintings, and I’ve always enjoyed it’s peacefulness….see more of my work at http://www.lynnefrenchdesigns.com