These are in order from newest to oldest. Last year a close friend of mine gave me a pack of watercolor pens while I was on an overseas trip. Every time I go to another country, I get inspired to create a new mode for my drawing practice. I think this is the result of a combination of an unusual amount of free time, a language barrier that protects my introverted ways and finally, a new environment and culture that offers an altered perspective.
Generally, I will combine the watercolors with black and white ink pens. I usually play with coloring within the lines, and then breaking with that structure. I'm sure you are using different parts of your brain when you go back and forth from pen & ink to watercolor. To me it reminds me of syncopation in music, or 'rocking the boat' as drummer Johnny Vidacovich would say. Breaking with the structure creates a tension.
On this trip, I had been taking pictures with my phone, trying to post daily drawings to a secret instagram account, just for myself. Traveling, having my smart phone instead of photoshop, I used an app to invert the drawings, and then bump up the contrast. When I got the watercolors as a gift, I couldn't wait to try this technique with them. I can be really exciting when you press that invert button because you never really know what the result will look like. I soon realized that it's better to plan and test the colors before investing time into the drawing. A limited palette usually works better.
I know a lot artists and illustrators who participate in Inktober, and I love keeping up with their efforts, but that's not something I'm ready commit to. Fall is possibly the busiest time of year for me, so I would either burn out or embarrass myself by posting sucky drawings everyday. Instead, I reached a compromise by doing #watercolorwednesday. I'm not strict, but I try to do it every week. I don't feel bad if I miss it.
I was driving alone from Memphis to New Orleans. It can be a long and boring drive, and I had a way to watch videos on my phone, so I put on Star Trek: Next Generation and set the phone on the speedometer so it was visible through the steering wheel. I wasn't really watching it but listening to the audio and taking a glance every now and then. Really, I just put it on to keep me company. Eventually, I started daydreaming that the phone was a window into the engine of the car. I imagined that the people on the bridge of the spaceship were little car operators! It was a funny idea. Maybe they thought they were in control of the car and they were unaware of me. Then, something weird happened. The story synced up with my reality. In the episode, they were approaching some kind of space storm. It was a massive cloud that was somehow very dangerous. They were preparing a plan, trying to decide if they could go through it or not. At the exact same time I was approaching a bad thunderstorm. It was uncanny, hearing them talk about the storm right in front of me. It was like we were all getting ready for it. Eventually I had to turn off the video and concentrate on driving through the storm. It was so bad that I pulled off to the side of the interstate with a lot of other cars to wait it out.
I miss this place! It feels so weird to have abandoned this blog after so many years. Life on Planet Earth is wild. Time flies. I'm back!
I can give you an update. Kong Wee and I have been installing more and more outdoor murals. It's been exciting and satisfying to work on a large scale. Putting things out in the physical world is so different than paper works we do that (hopefully) end up in someone's home. I love working outside and interacting with people on the street. Sometimes they're not into the art at all! It's funny, but it reminds me a lot of skateboarding, how it's a personal thing a public space, so there is an uncertain element to it. When we installed the sequin birds, I heard someone say, "it looks like prom." Most of the feedback has been good, but honestly it's thrilling to get a critic.
Speaking of skateboarding, I got to check designing a deck off my bucket list. Last year I was so stoked to do a series of two board graphics for New Orleans' own Preservation Board Co. It meant so much to me that it was my hometown heroes who gave me that opportunity. Hope to do many more in the future! All my best to you. Will catch up soon. Peace!