While making these weblike works using ink and water, I have kept two images in mind: a meditative path, and a dreamcatcher. I started making the circular pieces because it is interesting to see how the color flows within the shape.
1. Make 5 cocentric circles of water
2. Connect the circles with arbitrary radial paths
3. Add color throughout
The randomness of the radial paths is what leads each circle group to be unique. Here is a video of this process during step 3, where color is added to an existing waterform:
The shapes look much darker before eventually drying, although in the piece above, I did use a lot of black ink.
While making the piece above I was thinking about atomic structures in textbooks, and how our visual conception of atoms and subatomic particles are mostly just that - visual conceptions or representational ideas that try to capture something we can never truly see. In textbooks, electrons are represented as little spheres, and this is as close as we can come to knowing what an electron looks like. So, I made the piece above thinking about the limitations of representation in physics and how we try, through art, to communicate relationships between atomic forms. It sort of works, but it works while knowing it is a flawed enterprise.
The piece above is a simple maze, where I carried a single line of water across an entire sheet of paper, stopping to refill the water dropper occasionally. What is fun about works like this is creating an undulation, then finding a way to correct it or even out the space later on. I only lost my steady hand at the last moment at the very bottom of the paper, where you can see the two lines joining. I think I became too excited to finish the piece and temporarily lapsed in concentration!
After warming up with low-stakes abstract shapes, I was able to start work on a more advanced shape - that of a leaping cat. The stakes are still low working with water on paper - if you move the water to an area of the paper that feels 'wrong' you can just try again with another sheet before applying color. The original sheet will just dry off and you can try again. To combat any further frustration here, I typically try to keep about 20 sheets of small mixed media on hand. This frees me up to make mistakes and keep trying - without feeling bad that I ruined a piece of paper or wasted it.
Hope you enjoyed this Art Coffee Break!