Working in Series

Ankara 30 Mineke Reinders Watercolor 2020

Pick a theme

Back in April when we were under lockdown, I started a series of small paintings based on a visit to Izmir, Turkey. I wanted to challenge myself to paint more often without getting bogged down with the search for subject matter each and every time. Picking a theme narrowed that down to manageable proportions. When I felt that the Izmir theme was exhausted, it was a matter of shifting to a different one. I chose to revisit Ankara: read about it here.

Explore

The limitations of a theme paradoxically offer you the chance to explore. For example, in my Ankara series I explored revisiting subjects I’d painted before, but approaching them from a different angle. In the example below, the original is a full sheet watercolor painted realistically, whereas the recent version is a small, 7×5″ (18×13 cm) painting focused on shapes and colors.

I also explored different limited palettes, from a modified Zorn palette (raw sienna, napthol red, and neutral tint) to a palette that’s a little more versatile for my purposes (quinacridone gold, napthol red, and ultramarine blue). The last watercolor in the Ankara series, shown at the top of this post, was painted with just these three colors, illustrating that a limited palette can be plenty colorful.

What’s next?

In my next post, I want to introduce my new series, and talk a little more about how limitations can open up new vistas.

Until then, stay safe & stay creative!

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