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:
This isn’t the best 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.
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.
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:
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.