Thoughts on Music and Watercolor

Third Day on the Coca-Cola Sign and Gate

Third Day on the Coca-Cola Sign and Gate

I work in drybrush when my emotion gets deep enough into a subject. . . . It’s a weaving process–one applies layers of drybrush over and within the broad washes of watercolor.  And I sometimes throw in pencil and Higgins ink.

Andrew Wyeth

Finally today I have gotten down into the business of drybrush, texturing the vintage Coca-Cola sign, and working on the ground textures beneath where the grass will lie.  The afternoon has been an exquisite one–the northern lights have flooded my studio, and Andrew Wyeth’s words have washed over my psyche like an oracle.  As I poked the drybrush and pencil over the washes I had laid down, spritzed the area with the spray bottle, and applied salt, I came to the realization that I am not haphazardly throwing media on the paper, as it may appear to anyone watching.  After years of experimenting with drybrush and pencil in watercolor, I’m finally settling into some known patterns, but still taking risks, all the time noting what works and what doesn’t.

At this juncture in my iife, I am also trying to learn electric guitar, practicing scales and playing lead patterns over backing tracks.  What an amazing similarity.  Of course I note that my electric lead is about as attractive now as my watercolor drybrush attempts were ten years ago.  I am missing much more than I am hitting, but at least not despairing!  It dawned on me this afternoon that lead guitar players successfully weave music over the backing rhythm sections by applying patterns already learned that work, while at the same time risking new ventures, and creating new tunes.  As a painter, I am much further down the road, meshing drybrush with a backing wash.  Perhaps with practice and patience, I will someday play lead guitar, successfully meshing single-string tunes with a rhythm section.  In the meantime, it is refreshing to think on this connection between guitar playing and watercoloring.

I think the painting is dry enough to return to now, so I’m going to get back to the drybrush.

Thanks for reading.

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4 Responses to “Thoughts on Music and Watercolor”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    I’m enjoying your progress! Also hearing about your other interests. I’ve got a tad involved with paper crafting…still art, but different, and one I can enjoy with my granddaughters, even from a resting place! 😉 Reminds me of years ago when lupus has me bedfast and I was doing art with my daughter. It’s so awesome to be “teaching” their daughters now…and seeing their natural talent!! We have to keep learning…that’s the one “rule” to creating, not? 😉 Wishing you happiness as you paint…


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. I love paper crafting, and am so clumsy at it. I have many students doing origami and driving me crazy with the complexity of such tiny objects they fold! Funny–I don’t mind minute details in watercolor work, but always seem to lack patience in the intricacies of paper crafting. I’m glad it’s working for you. And congratulations on your joys of working on the “second generation”! We’re on the same page there, and especially with the notion of always learning–the truly educated never graduate. I hope to learn something from each painting I attempt.


      • Bonnie Says:

        Love what you’ve done with your painting! The gate reminds me of years ago…one of my grandparents had one like this. BTW… I’m not doing origami, though I’d love a go at it. I’ve been making tags with my granddaughters. adding some art work along with printed papers, and embellishments. Also doing ATC’s, which is great fun, as I’ve always liked little things. 😉 We’re out-of-state again, for 3 months…and more resting. Here I can totally rest, so I have hope I may recoup to where I was. Brought art supplies as it’s my saving factor!… and some good books, for learning. 😉


      • davidtripp Says:

        Your drive inspires me more than I can say! Glad you’re pursuing your creative bliss while you rest. Best wishes to you. Thank you for complimenting my work. This gate brings back memories of grandparents, aunts and uncles from my youth. The only thing missing is honesuckle poking through the mesh. Books, huh? Books and guitar are always competing for my attention while I’m painting. I take breaks with them, and sometimes overstay my break. 🙂


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