through the looking glass


or how to paint “En plein air” from the comfort of your kitchen…

I’ve never done this before (painted outside, yes. painted up on my window, no.) I’m not even sure where the idea came from! I think it’s one too many tracing projects with the kids’ homework. However it came about, this simple painting exercise brought me to a place of observing and consideration that I wasn’t expecting. I was discovering subtle and intricate shifts of the view, the light, the paint and the paper. These were only moments, ones that I usually miss. What am I saying? schedule some time to stop, look and listen. This is not about making a masterpiece, but it is about influencing and strengthening your ability to see one in the making. Because I was already set up, I could drop the laundry or the paperwork or the phone long enough to appreciate the changes going on around me, to capture some of this movement in a creative way. Be encouraged today.

The kit: one piece of large white tissue paper, simple watercolour pan paints, tape, water, different sized soft brushes, markers and a window!

The process: start light and paint some washes of colour. Be gentle and thoughtful with the work, or it could tear. Leave it to dry and come back at different times of the day to observe the changing light and colours. Paint and draw as you wish, be willing to shift as the scene moves through the day. Look up close, see. Stand back, see through. Move in close again. Leave the room. Come back at a different angle. Repeat.

These photos start from morning light and go through to evening’s dark.

P1140548 P1140563 P1140567 P1140573 P1140575 P1140578 P1140582 P1140583 P1140584 P1140596 P1140616 P1140622 P1140623 P1140638


6 responses »

    Are these photos all the same sheet of paper (or different paintings)? Tissue paper is very delicate, so I would imagine you could not do very many layers of paint on the same sheet ..
    Can you comment?

    I love the look of them though …

    • Hi Brenda! They are of the same sheet. I was gentle, allowing there to be dry time. I used Sharpies, but the ulta fine points were too hard, so I drew with the larger ones. The paint was inexpensive, so not alot of pigment to build upon. Many of the shades are actually the changing light coming through wet or dry paper. In 2 of the photos, I intensified the depth of colour via a simple computer process because I wanted to see how far they could be pushed. But the rest are “as is”. It was so interesting to leave and come back a couple of hours later to see something so different. I hope you try it, because it was fun. Thanks for stopping by!

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