Mari O'Brien

This year, I have been experimenting with inks of all sorts, including India inks, both black and colored. The beginnings of "Vigilance" started as a pour of black India ink from a pipette onto yupo that had been sprayed heavily with water.  I am very fond of using drips in my paintings, because the drips attest to the aqueous nature of the paint/ink, something I really like when painting in watermedia.  I held the paper vertically and just let the ink drip down from the top.  ("Vigilance" -- beginnings.)Once this was dry, I glazed over the drips with a wash of diluted yellow ochre.  At this point, I started seeing figures, something frequently happens to me when I paint this way.  When that layer was dry,  I began to negative paint around the figures I saw with a teal color.  ("Vigilance" -- stages 2 & 3).  I really liked the figures, both human-like and plant-like that were emerging, but I soon realized that I had unwittingly negative-painted around what looked like a pair of jeans! That "pair of jeans" that I saw had to go!  So in the next iteration, I painted out the "jeans," replacing them with sort of amorphous shapes.  I put down a darker teal around the shapes, cleaning up the inital raggedy nature of the paint.  I also used a green-gold to suggest grass or a ground the figures might be standing on.  ("Vigilance," stage 4).  I also painted a violet sort of "wall" behind the figures, plus I began incorporating more color into the figures themselves. Deciding I needed more value contrast, I painted a lighter, brighter teal in lines along the curves I found in the shapes.  I liked the suggestion of flowing robes created by this use of line.Stage 5 involved adding some texture to the "wall" with crackle medium, then, when that was dry, heightening the value contrast of the figures by lightening the violet with a water-soluble soft pastel, making the crackly nature of the medium stand out. After I touched up a few lines, "Vigilance" told me it was finished.This was a fun painting for me, from beginning to end!  I so much love the experimental process of my paintings!   

"Vigilance" -- beginnings
"Vigilance" -- stages 2 & 3
"Vigilance" - stage 4
"Vigilance" Final
"Vigilance" -- beginnings
"Vigilance" -- beginnings
"Vigilance" -- stages 2 & 3
"Vigilance" -- stages 2 & 3
"Vigilance" - stage 4
"Vigilance" - stage 4
"Vigilance" Final
"Vigilance" Final