This is it. This is the one. This is the one that I like enough to consider doing watercolors on the regular:
The first two layers of this piece can be found at the Grand Prismatic, in Yellowstone. In case you don't know, not every photo of the Grand Prismatic looks like the geodesic cover of National Geographic Magazine. There's a certain amount of steam... but here are some of my highlights of what I caught. Below, the reflective mirror-like edges of the hot spring.
Now, this is not the Grand Prismatic, but it is one of the springs you walk past on your way there (a lesser prismatic, I suppose). It is bright turquoise. And steamy. Imagine you are a lobster...
Now, the overexposure! This naturally-fabricated popcorn ceiling can actually be found on the ground, under a tiny layer of acidwater, at Mammoth Springs. It reminded me of coral. It's tough to capture the little ball texture of this in a piece of cut paper, but I really like how it turned out with the lighter paper and the curvy edges. I rotated this piece 180 degrees so that the first layer had horizontal stripes, the second layer was composed from upper left to lower right, and the final layer spread from lower left to upper right. In sum, my favorite piece came out of my most drab source photos - go figure! Maybe I'm onto something....
I am newly obsessed with the geothermal colors and textures of yellowstone. I've picked up this little watercolor pad of 15 sheets, and my goal is to create a mixed media sketch out of every last page. Here is my second attempt:
It all starts with an oil pastel resist layer of texture. You can see my inspiration, below. This time, instead of sticking with the white oil pastel exclusively I decided to highlight the shadows with raw sienna and some charcoal, as well.
Then I chose my all-time-favorite color photo. I am obsessed with this hot spring, as is my friend and traveling companion who came up to me on the trail to make sure I got the photo. I don't even know where to start. It's opaque... but it's like a looking glass that leads to Narnia or something.
Finally, I broke out my tracing paper and, oddly, leatherman to add this overexposed outline of the Grand Tetons. I was away at a cabin, my dog was sick so I couldn't really leave, and I had only brought an exacto knife. The complicated fibers of the paper didn't exactly get along with the exacto knife, so I broke out my leatherman - otherwise for use in dire moments of survival, bears, etc. - and trimmed each little thread with the tiny swiss army scissors. I knew there was a reason I always pack for the worst!
Over the summer I moved to LA. It wasn't so out of the blue, but it sure felt like it once I made up my mind to go. Consequently, I've been absent! But I'm back. To get from DC to LA my friend and I drove 5,285 miles through 9 National Parks/Monuments/Recreation areas. As two women from two different countries of two races with two puppies, we experienced some things. We also won the License Plate Game at Yellowstone with our highly-coveted Washington, DC plate.
Between Yellowstone and everything else I have a ton of great art fodder. I'm taking technique ideas I got from Venice and applying them, one by one, to these pieces, which I will share with you. Surprise! I'm doing mixed media. Allow me to walk you through my first Yellowstone-inspired piece:
I hadn't been to Yellowstone since I was a little kid. Now that I know about science, this place was awe-inspiring. The geothermal activity was astounding. This piece is exclusively made of acid hot springs and the ire they wrought on nature.
I started with a base layer, inspired by the texture of the hot springs. This photo is from one of the many springs in Mammoth Hot Springs. Nature does this. Man can't touch it, or he incinerates.
On top of the texture, I did a watercolor painting based on this colorful hot spring photo. I believe this is from Norris Geyser Basin. It is insane what color chemical reactions can make!
Finally, I used artisanal paper to add the silhouette of these trees, scorched by the moving acid that bubbles up from the core of our planet. Let me know what you think of this new series!