My Watercolor Paintings
I will soon be offering Giclée prints of my watercolors.
Check out the Artwork and Items For Sale page for more information.
Below are some of my favorite watercolor paintings. Some of them have a surreal, fantastic and/or psychedelic quality to them. They are all approximately 20 X 28" large with the exception of the square paintings and the "Abstract Letters of My Name" painting. Certain elements may resemble cells or neurons to the viewer---this is probably by biology background coming through.
Click on each thumbnail for a larger view.
Below are some of my favorite watercolors. Most recent paintings are shown first.
This watercolor is smaller than my usual ones, measuring only 15 X 19 1/2". This "creature" kind of reminds me of a paramecium.
Hold On!, 8-9-09
I am most happy with the black and white designs in this one. They are my favorite spontaneous designs of any I've ever drawn or painted previously. I also liked that the brown area at the bottom turned out looking like some sort of cliff. That part wasn't planned---I figured it would just be another layer, as these "layers" seem to be a common theme in some of my recent paintings. It should be noted that some of the photos were taken with a flash---more detail in the paint can be shown this way, but you can no longer see the texture of the paper. The colors are more true without the flash.
This watercolor is very different from my usual paintings. Normally, I start with an idea that I sketch out on paper first. Sometimes, I will have to make several sketches before I figure out the basic design. Then, I transfer the design to the watercolor paper in light pencil. This time, there is not a single pencil line on this watercolor. It was all created spontaneously with no idea in mind whatsoever. I found that it was good practice to experiment with textures in the way that I did. It brought back a lot of forgotten knowledge (since it had been so long in between paintings). While I am not as happy with the composition of this work compared with my others, probably because it was not planned out, I still like certain elements.
Transient Unity, 7-25-09
Sadly, I haven't had a large enough block of time available to paint in the last 2 1/2 years. My life has been consumed with work and moving and being frustrated with the current real estate situation in Michigan (and most other places). I finally sat down and got started on a painting shortly after my birthday. It felt so good to paint again. I have really missed that part of myself. One really cool thing is that I finally have a real studio where I can keep my art supplies out at all times. I used to have to paint at the kitchen counter and it would disrupt everything for several days while I was working on a painting. Then I would have to clean it all up to have life as normal again. I may be able to paint more often now that I can just work on small sections at a time and leave all of my supplies out.
Frank and the Toads of the Short Forest, 1-4-07
On January 4, 2007, I completed "Frank and the Toads of the Short Forest". It took about 40 hours. This painting is my visual representation of a Frank Zappa song called "Toads of the Short Forest". There are also references to this forest in other songs such as "Camarillo Brillo" and "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary". Upon careful inspection, you will see Greggery, the tiny twisty tree with eyes on it, and of course, Billy the Mountain with the tiny cave at the top of a cliff. Frank, my spadefoot toad that has since passed on, sits on the right. Also present by my choice are cypress knees (one of my favorite things) and two trees whose roots intertwine to spell the word "love".
On July 18, 2006, I completed an untitled abstract. Surprisingly, I was able to finish it in a little over 20 hours. I am usually only able to make one painting about every 6 months, so it could be that I am getting faster because I've been painting so much this summer vacation.
Eye on the Horizon, 7-15-06
On July 15, 2006, I completed a watercolor titled "Eye on the Horizon." This one took about 28 hours. The subject matter is a little simpler than what I've been doing lately.
The Elusive Sleep
On July 12, 2006, I finished a watercolor I decided to title "The Elusive Sleep" which took about 50 hours. I have had difficulty sleeping for years, but it is especially difficult when I am not able to sleep in my own bed. Such was the case when I began this watercolor. I had to attend a math conference for my job from July 26-30 and stay at a hotel by myself in Kalamazoo, MI . I'm not used to doing those kinds of things alone. The first night, I didn't sleep for one minute, but since I had extra time before I had to go to the conference that morning, I started drawing and came up with the idea for the painting. The second night I got only three hours of sleep and that's when I decided to title the painting "The Elusive Sleep". The designs sort of looked like neurons that were stuck in an unfriendly world, which is kind of how I feel when I can't sleep---it's like the sleep neurons are stuck in the waking world and can't get out. After not sleeping for so long, my brain seems to forget how to sleep. The third, fourth and fifth nights, I managed to get 5 hours of sleep each night. Here are some photos of the final watercolor and some closeups of the details. I used sharpie markers for the designs on the white background and for the tentacles and spheres.
Mantis Watercolor, 8-23-05
On August 23, 2005, I finished the only realistic watercolor I've ever made. This was definitely the most challenging of all of my watercolors because there could be no mistakes. In my other creations, if a mistake was made, I worked it into the already abstract painting---no problem. This time, I had to be extremely accurate because this watercolor was based on one of my praying mantis photographs. Not only did it have to be painted accurately, but before I could even start painting, it had to be drawn. I am quite happy with how it turned out. I also included some close-ups.
Personal Mandala, 2004
Having taught geometry for three years, I learned a little about geometric constructions. This inspired me to create a unit that combined math and art, with the ultimate product being a personal mandala. You can look at the activities in the unit and pictures of some of the student mandalas near the bottom of the Level 2 Art Plans Page. I was so inspired after teaching this unit and seeing the student's work that I couldn't wait to make my own personal mandala, shown below. Inside the central circle is the Sri Yantra.
Click here to learn more about the meaning of the image of the Sri Yantra.
Click here to see mandalas created by other contemporary artists.
The watercolor below later became an airbrushed design on one of my Art Cars.
Below are the two sets of series paintings I have done. The Abstract Love Trilogy is complete, but there will still be many more Frog Fantasy paintings.
On August 2, 2004, I completed a painting that is nearly identical to a previous work I made in 2001 except that I changed the colors. It was really quite interesting to observe how the colors affect the focal points of the work. I enjoyed the effect so much that I decided to create one more to complete the series. It was finished on August 10, 2004. They are pictured below in the order of creation.
|Abstract Love Trilogy, 2001-2004 Framed Abstract Love Trilogy as displayed in my home, 2006 (taking the place of my vine sculpture) Animation I made in September 2006|
Frog Fantasy Scapes
|Frog Fantasy Scape I, 2001|
|Frog Fantasy Scape II Cross-section and close-up detail, 2002|
|Frog Fantasy Scape III Featuring Frank and the Vegetanimal from Outer Space, 1-4-2006 (first picture taken without a flash shows truest colors, but least clarity) In October 2006, I created a woodburning of the Vegetanimal.|
My First Watercolors
|Vase with Flowers, 2001 (shown in its natural setting in my home)||Sun, 2000||Mermaid, 2002|
|Bioswirl I, 2000||Bioswirl II, 2001||Triangle Eye, 2000 (first watercolor)|
|Bird, 2001||Horizontal Bands, 2000|
Calculated Music, 2000 (enlarged view of calculator
circuitboard and cd player
|Mushroom graded washes, 2000||Abstract Letters of My Name, 2000|
My Background in Watercolor Painting
I am always trying new media, usually by choice. One media I had always avoided were watercolors. I could never get them to do anything interesting. It just so happened that while I was pursuing teacher certification in Art at Eastern Michigan University, the only class that was available to me was watercolor painting, so I had little choice in the matter. Mr. Igor Beginin was my instructor, a mature gentleman who was retiring right after that very semester. The techniques he taught me were difficult and frustrating, but once I mastered some of the basics, I was really able to take off from there and learn some things on my own. I was very fortunate to have had a teacher that had been painting for so many years. After taking this class, I must say that watercolor now rates as one of my top five favorite media for expression of my ideas. It has truly changed my artistic direction.
During the school year of 2003-2004, I had the opportunity to teach watercolor painting to ten students in my high school art classes. It was a very enjoyable experience and I was able to help them achieve the results they desired. I led them along a similar path as I traveled when studying under Mr. Beginin, teaching them the important basic techniques before starting a final project. Click here to see some of the final student-created watercolors.
If you are interested in learning more about the techniques behind watercolor painting, the link below is an informational text that I wrote for my watercolor unit. I would also recommend Handprint.com for more detailed information.
Introduction to Watercolor Text
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