My Favorite Painting Material
Where it all Begins
I was intrigued by the question, "What is your favorite painting material?" I have definite preferences, that's for sure. I am "by trade" a watercolorist. Most of the work I do is in watercolor. I love the wonderful liquid properties of watercolor - how the pigment and the water interact and behave in predictable (and not so predictable) ways. I am intrigued by the challenge of harnessing these properties and making them (most of the time) bend to my will. I like the process of planning a watercolor painting, figuring out which washes need to be applied to the painting first, saving the "whites" on the paper, watching the beauty and drama increase in a painting with each successive wash. It's all fantastic! After reading all this, I'm sure you would surmise that watercolor is my favorite painting material, but it's not! My favorite painting material is the lowly, humble, ubiquitous number 2 pencil!
For me, and I suppose for most artists, their first experiences with art came from this humble source. For years as a child, this pencil was the only conduit for expressing my creative vision. Of course we had crayons, but they seemed more relegated to use in coloring books. While fun, that activity did not satisfy my desire to express what I wanted to express.
Thoughts on Paper
To this day, the pencil is the place I always begin my work. I often tell my kids, "I can't think without a pencil in my hand." This is more true than not. All of my paintings begin as drawings. In fact, some of the drawings destined to become paintings find a second life as a finished drawing.
I always tell my students that any painting, collage, print, even sculpture is only as good as the drawing that underlies it. Artists must be able to conceptualize their ideas before they can be created, and drawing is the springboard for it all. Drawing is the cornerstone of all artistic expression. It requires dedication and commitment, but becoming competent in drawing is a must for the serious artist.
Where it all Ends
If you were to fast forward in time about 30 years, you will (God willing) find me in a retirement home. Sitting in a sunny corner with a pencil in my hand. I will still be trying to express my appreciation for this beautiful world and the wonderful gift of vision we have been given. I will be there in that corner with a pencil in my hand, and I will be happy.....
What About You?
What is your favorite art material? How does it help you express your creativity? Have your preferences changed over time? Why do you think you enjoy this material so much? I'd love to hear your answers to these questions. Please take a moment to write about these questions in the comments section. I hope this hub has helped you to think about your own creative life and why these things are important to a life well lived.