It’s the paper’s fault

Brandi Malarkey, Artist. 8x10


School has resumed, and with it so has painting. Perhaps not as fast as I’d prefer, as we are still bumping and easing in to a new routine. However, when a break at something has been a bit longer than is ideal, it is really easy to start over-thinking and put up mental blocks to keep lengthening that break. So to get myself over the initial hurdle I decided to do something completely different. An experiment of a bee (Edit: Apparently this is actually a yellow jacket. Who knew?) started off the painting saga, and came out like so:

Brandi Malarkey, Artist 8x10

It has some problems, but is still interesting in its own way. So I took the parts I liked best of how the paint worked, and used them to do this dragonfly:

Brandi Malarkey, Artist. 8x10

Which has given me all manner of ideas to explore if I can work out the time to do so. However, these paintings ALSO have resulted in a great discovery–my paper is FLAWED.

My current style of botanical paintings are a rather new endeavor. I took up watercolors just slightly more than a year ago. I didn’t have anything worth sharing until December of last year. So it hasn’t been surprising that I have struggled with some aspects of it, most especially getting clean lines. However, in using the same paper, with a totally different style of art, I have discovered that some of what I have been struggling with is not actually my fault. I know it sounds like pushing the blame onto someone (something) else, but it is true!

See the lines on the dragonfly’s wings? And how uneven in thickness they are?

They look okay, as is, but it wasn’t deliberate. However, when you have a  brand new, well-functioning brush, paint the exact right consistency, that works BEAUTIFULLY on the test paper, and then when you put it to your painting and it SPREADS of it’s own accord, it is not your fault when you can’t get the good, clean lines you are aiming for. Just in case you think I am simply making excuses, it turns out they had an entire artists’ meeting to discuss this very thing. I am not the only artist with an issue, however since I am new at this style of art, I assumed it was my problem, not that of the paper.

Of course, since I am the type to buy in bulk I have a lot of this paper on hand. Since I also managed to prep and start several paintings (even if I couldn’t finish them over the summer) I am not sure if I should give up on them and start over, or struggle through with the ones I have currently in process. However, it DOES mean that I have experimental paper adventures in my future, and that once I sort out that issue, my botanical paintings should improve–or at least be less frustrating for me, personally.

So, since several of my issues are legitimately NOT my fault, I can now blame it for all manner of other (very likely unrelated) things, as well.

That’s logic.

See? It TOTALLY pays off to take a break from the norm and do something a little different once in a while! Oy!

5 Responses

  1. The bugs have something – they’re a little outside of my circle on the venn diagram that is the art we appreciate, and I don’t quite have the words, but they have something that takes them out of the ordinary. You are making progress.

  2. Nice logic!

    Of course, it could also be blamed on the influence of lunar events leading up to and extending beyond, the cosmic event of the recent eclipse.

    Just sayin’….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.





Purchase Original

Interested in buying an original piece of art? My work is on display and available for purchase at  Gallery 4 located at 115 Roberts Street, Fargo, ND.

If you’d like to commission an original piece, please use the following form to contact me.

Looking forward to hearing from you!