Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Back From Puerto Rico - New Watercolors and a Few Photos

I was in Puerto Rico last week. Saw two old friends and met four amazing new friends. I worked hard too. For me there is not much else to do in the heat of the day - I don't sit in the sun and I get bored easily. Consequently I have come back to Chicago with thirteen new water colors. I will post the in chronological order, the progression is apparent. I still struggle with both the watercolor media and color in general. But being in such a colorful, sunlit place made it easy to riff on the take inspiration from the environment around me.

Michael McGuire - Untitled Watercolor Drawings - 12''x 9'' each
In the first watercolor drawing I was once again exploring the array of colors in the small Windsor Newton watercolor set I brought with me. The second is still exploration but I returned to a motif I have used before, the graduated grid. And the third drawing was about mixing grays and again a graduated grid of sorts.

These next three watercolors are still about mixing grays and blacks. The middle black drawing refers to drawings I had been making in Chicago before I left. Hints of the landscape in two of them.

These two drawings introduce the 'Wave' motif and this photo is a reminder that all of these drawings can be rotated ninety degrees for a different perspective. I'm still timid with the color but taking inspiration for the beach that was just outside my door.

Here the motif has been established and I'm trying not to over-think the color.

The end of my stay in Puerto Rico is approaching. I'm actually working harder because I like the direction these watercolors are going. Trying to be a little more thoughtful about the color.

The last three watercolors. I relaxed a bit about the color. These drawings really are studies in the sense that I worked in a somewhat uncomfortable media with color, and maybe I learned a thing or two that will inform my work back in the studio.

Below is a photo of my painting set up in P.R. just out side my room at the 'Numero Uno' Guest house. The ocean is just on the other side of the wall.

I did not shoot as many photos as in years past while visiting Puerto Rico but below are a few from my walks around the 'Ocean Park' neighborhood of San Juan where my guest house was situated.  These photos are a little unfair in that they make the place look like a bombed out city which it is not at all. It is lively and full of businesses and a lot of development is going on. But at the same time there are abandoned buildings and empty lots everywhere. I think it is the product of probate rules in Puerto Rico, and the tropical environment is very hard on any structure. But a lot of great architecture that runs from Miami Art Deco to some of the original wood beach shacks that have been lovingly restored.

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