Tropical Camouflage : Assemblage Series.

This experiment has been a fun & challenging change of pace. After a healthy block of digital works over the past months I set out to create a big series of 20 organic/spontaneous wetwork paintings with watercolors, inks, & acrylics. I got all the paper drenched & worked the series all at once, adding washes, textures, & letting dry. Then repeating this process again & again for each, diving back in with more groovy layers. After a few rounds of this I reached the point where it seemed more fun to grab scalpel & scissors to remix them all together & see where that would go rather than continuing with each piece on its own as a traditional canvas.

For this chapter of the experiment I kept the forms all organic & groovy, somewhat peaceful & other times a bit chaotic perhaps. To my eye they def feel like some sort of tie-dye lava lamping dreamscape.

Playing with color & form in this way is much different than my usual approach, in both my digital & unplugged work. Rather than loading a brush with color and knowing where I was headed with it, I was shuffling thru the deck searching for a moment within a bigger piece that seemed to fit with the flow I was going for.

That 70's Flow. I carefully cut out sections that I enjoyed & then searched for where it could fit in another composition. This forced me out of my comfort zone & allowed me to arrive at some unexpected abstract arrangements, color combos, & plenty of sloppy/clean juxtapositions that fit with the overall concept.

Towards the end of the exploration I was running low on certain color combos & lighter tone gradients that jumped out of the pile earlier on, & this was cool too. It took quite a bit of rotating & trimming of pieces to accomplish the sharp contrast edges to each new layer. In the end, especially in this piece, it has a colorway I would never have arrived at if I were painting in my typical ways. I had no more yellows & highlights, so there were none used, & I like the result.

One of the most important rules I set for myself with this chapter of the exploration was to never go back to my paints & brushes to modify spots & strengthen the composition. Pure collage once the knives were out. It would have been easy to do a little touch-up here & there with contrasting tones to make them pop more. Or to ad highlights/shadows with ink washes. But I worried if I started to do that I would go too far & end up with results that looked too similar to my past wetwork freeform paintings. Looking back at the series now I feel there are some nice moments, some sloppy ones, & a bunch of new ideas for how to incorporate collage into my studio work in the future. For sure I'm going to make a series that celebrates pure geometry, without the voluptuous curves of these. Another idea I have for the future is to do all of my scalpel work to the watercolor paper prior to receiving paint. This way I can build compositional blueprints & then be very deliberate with the colors/gradients I apply with ink washes to each of the puzzle pieces before glue time. Anyways, that was fun & I'm feeling inspired to make more work that embraces chance & spontaneity. On to the next.