Nature Lover

Following my last blog, things have not gotten any better regarding the sale of my apartment. It really looks like I need to put it on the market again which is a pain. But I need to move on and focus on happier things in life. So today, I decided to write about a painting I did a month ago whilst following another of Tracy Verdugo’s Abstract Mojo classes, this one called “Nature Tools”. What perfect timing to write about it now because just this morning, I decided to get active (vent my frustrations rather) and do a jump-rope workout in our own back garden! And then I remembered how lucky I am being surrounded with such a beautiful nature around me, making me forget my troubles.

My Nature Tools

In this class, we were instructed to go outside and find some “nature tools” with which we paint on paper. Being the middle of March at the time, there was not much I could find, as the trees were still bare and the weather still wet. A few twigs, small branches, dried up leaves from the winter and some flower buds on the ground were all there were. As I prefer not to pull plants and leaves off the branches, I was more or less limited to anything that was lying on the ground. That’s ok though. Let’s see what we could make use of them!

Painting Away

Paper used was an A3-sized watercolor paper. First we start off by sweeping some water on it with a wide brush, and whilst wet, a few drops of Payne’s Grey acrylic ink and watch the ink spread organically. How cool is that! Then next to it, a drop or two of this ink was applied after which we swirled it around with whatever nature tool came handy. In this case, I used the leaves of a pine tree with its many prickly leaves!

The next steps involve applying ink in the same manner using various nature tools in different colors. As you can see, a number of “nature” colors were used including Lemon Yellow, Antelope Brown, Greens, Blues, Teal and even some colored iridescent india inks by Dr. Ph Martins. Several methods were also used for this painting layer after layer: Stamping on leaves, painting directly and spreading with the available tools. I recalled Tracy’s suggestion of using contrasts when getting in a rut: alternate between thick and thin strokes, opaque and watery, lines and curves, circles and squares, big and small, etc. And now! Looks colorful and abundant doesn’t it?

But at this point, I was indeed stuck in a rut and not knowing how to continue without ruining the painting. A negative space painting was an option but since I didn’t want to lose all those cool patterns and effects from the nature tools, I prefered to stick with them. That said, some negative space was incorporated in small bits like the orange flower. I then happily continued with more layers of color but at some point decided this would be a good time to stop. And now how about introducing some flower drawings with white some white ink? And what a brilliant idea that was!

Another fun and inspiring session with Tracy! Using nature tools was quite a wonderful change to brushes and hands. Who would have thought! As we now have a wonderful garden and are surrounded by nature, I should make use of what I have more often. The colors are also not the typical ones I use in my work which makes it all the more interesting as I once again got to explore beyond my comfort zone. In addition, it was a pleasantly therapeutic experience getting in touch with the nature around us. I should do this sort of painting more often!

Click here for more about Tracy Verdugo and her wonderful classes!

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