Art: this magical word! What is it about it that fascinates us that much? Why do some rich people spend millions to acquire the painting of a famous artist? Is it just a means to secure wealth (as expensive jewelry or gold coins) or is it something much more than that? Socrates believed that art is inspired by the Muses and was a strong supporter of its "divine" nature. This page (as well as some articles that will follow) will try to answer some of these questions.
As a student in Vienna, I still remember an extraordinary event: I was visiting (for the first time) the Vienna Museum of Modern Art. I had no idea what artists were represented there (as I did not buy a brochure beforehand).
I was walking through the various rooms without approaching ANY of the works surrounding me! Then, all of a sudden, I spotted a small painting which was hanging on a wall about three rooms ahead of me! The painting seemed to magically pull me into its sphere! I felt almost hypnotized and walked straight to it: it was a work by Paul Klee, one of my favorite artists!
There, on that very day and that very spot, I understood its magic power!
YEARS LATER: I visited the exhibition of a Greek painter I knew and there, again, I felt this magic. This time it was a large, acrylic painting: I felt magnetized! The painting was on sale and its price was significant: in fact, it represented my entire monthly salary as a full time piano professor! But, I knew it: I HAD to buy it! I was lucky that, during this time, I lived with my parents. I explained and they understood (they were both great supporters of all artistic endeavors!).
So, here I was: buying my first work for my personal collection! And, this time, I understood another truth: it is not always the rich who buy these luxurious items! It can be anyone who appreciates beauty.>
Till this very day, and despite difficulties I had to face in my finances, I never regretted this acquisition and I do not think I will ever resell it! Just sitting in front of it and having the luxury of enjoying a great work is an unbelievably strong experience for anyone!
The first gouache painting I will discuss carries the title My Coffee Mug. I am particularly fond of this painting for two reasons: first, the particular mug was my favorite one throughout my studies at the University of Iowa! It was black-and-white, had a wonderful shape that was distinct yet easy to hold, and its large black "stains" (on a white surface) reminded me of the Iowa...cows (of which all of us, "outsiders", used to make loving jokes!!!). The second reason for my liking it is fairly simple: the painting achieves, in a very direct way, what I wanted to depict!
The fact is that this painting, My Coffee Mug demonstrates my personal technique with this medium quite perfectly.
The "mug" was painted first against the natural background of the white paper! I did this directly with a brush, no pre-sketches underneath: I find this way of working very gratifying. Of course, the "black dots" (of the original mug) were altered to fit the instinct of the moment. I then added lash/thick lines of yellow, blue, and red and accentuated the contours of the mug by adding red around. Finally, I gave more "character" to the painting through the strong black brushes and some finishing touches of white (this way, the white of the paper became a structural component!).
Some technical details: as you can see, one can have perfect white surfaces painted on a black background! The medium dries very quickly, so this is easy to achieve.
One more thing: I do NOT use white to make colors lighter(as the "gouache guides" describe): instead, I use more...water! This means that gouache paint can be worked with the watercolor techniques as well!