Painting in the Small Pane: A Different Kind of Window to Creativity

I’d like to share with you a couple of photos of the work of Joe Cibere. Joe is a watercolor artist relatively local to me here in the greater Los Angeles area, and he sometimes gives workshops at Valley Watercolor Society, where I’ve been a member for the past several years. He is incredibly generous and encouraging as a teacher, and his lessons come back to me in surprising ways years after each workshop.

The images I want to show you are these:

Joe Cibere sketches. 2011.

Joe Cibere sketches. 2011.

I apologize for the poor photo quality, but in a way, it’s apropos, because despite the beauty of these sketches, the small, dashed-off, almost fleeting nature of these paintings is the whole point.

These sketches remind me that everything does not have to be a big production. I mostly like to paint outside from nature. This can often mean making sure everything on the painting checklist is in the kit, laboriously assembling it if it’s not, getting in the car, driving somewhere, setting up the chair or the easel, strategizing a water source and responsible paint disposal, blah, blah, blah. And that’s just for watercolors. As a result, I don’t get out as much as I’d like, and I don’t paint as much as I’d like.

Joe Cibere sketches. 2011.

Joe Cibere sketches. 2011.

In truth, I could do like Joe. In these examples he just takes a sheet of watercolor paper, sections it off with tape, picks up the paints, and throws ideas straight out of his head. He does one square, and then another. This is one of many liberating ideas from Joe, and a great way to keep a small part of a bigger inner painter engaged on a more frequent basis.

Joe Cibere sketch. 2011.

Joe Cibere sketch. 2011.

I’ve figured out that I can section off a watercolor pad or a sheet of paper taped to a board and just keep it lying about the house with a tiny paint kit and a water brush. Then I can just pull out the brush and dash off a single pane whenever there are a spare five minutes, filling the page gradually.

I haven’t mastered the easy grace of Joe’s simple brush strokes or those nice clean colors, but I still think the idea helps. Here are a couple of pads that are lying around my house right now:

My nephew Baldip!

My nephew Baldip!

Feeling tropical.

Feeling tropical.

Last but not least, I’ve realized that this can probably work for oils, too. I’ve got a couple of canvas pads and some water-soluble oils. Sectioned off the same way, I think it might just be possible to throw something into a pane in a few minutes, toss it on top of a bookcase to dry, and get back to the dishes in the sink.

Stay tuned!

 

  2 comments for “Painting in the Small Pane: A Different Kind of Window to Creativity

  1. April 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Your paintings are wonderful and I really like what you said about Joe’s painting method reminds you that not everything has to be a big production. When we are able to let go of that we can engage in the fluidity of the medium. I’m still working on being more spontaneous with my work. You blog is lovely.

  2. Indy
    April 23, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    This is a great philosophy to keep in mind about almost everything. The big commitment of time and energy is often just a deterrent. Making something just a continuous part of the day and simple instead of a big production is a just a great every day practice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *