My latest visual journal entry began yesterday evening as a contour line drawing with a pencil. Then I started to add the shadows on the leaves… and then the light started to fade. The edges of light and shadow were shifting and blurring. My pencil drawing was turning to mush. I wasn’t happy with the result, and even started to doubt my drawing ability.
I told my pesky internal editor to scram and pulled out my gouache palette. One nice thing about gouache is that with a little water, the blobs of dried paint on the palette come back to life.
By now I had turned on the lights: the light and shadows describing the jade tree were drastically changed. I couldn’t refer to it for visual information any more. What I could do is lay down areas of line and color that were suggested by the drawing itself. And so I did:
I started with observation, and moved into abstraction by removing the shadows and making the leaves (and the spaces between them) flat areas of color. There is still a distinct jade tree quality to the shapes, but the picture has become more about line and color and rhythm and composition.