I've been knee deep in paintings and drawings for Natural Remedy for a few months now, but it felt good to take a break and work on something outside the scope of that collection.
This painting was inspired by some smaller paintings from the artifact series and utilizes similar techniques and scenery, but also incorporates a figure for the first time in more than a month or so.
I started by wetting the canvas, leaving pools of water sitting in various spots, then began to drop in color and shapes. The main idea here is to relinquish control and let the medium work its magic. I guide the forms, but the water causes colors to mix and flow outside of my direction and allows for unplanned and unpredictable results. Some parts I touch up later for compositional purposes, but I largely try to let this first “layer” do its thing.
Once it dries I see what kind of composition I’m left with and start building the scene. The smaller paintings require less of this but I wanted this painting to include a boatman of some type so this step took a bit longer than usual.
Overall, besides an enjoyable process I think this painting came out very well. There’s a luminosity and depth to the colors and scene, and the figure introduces a narrative that each viewer will interpret slightly differently. Are we approaching the river crossing willingly? Is the boatman surprised or wary of our presence? is the atmosphere alive with energy or wild and threatening?