Looking Out

By Jenna Pearlstein


These pieces of art were different than the spontaneous yet permanent acrylic that I usually work with. I am used to the finality, the way each mark on the canvas is irrevocable. With watercolor, I felt like I was losing control over the medium. I had to be mindful of every move I made, making sure each shape of color next to another shape of color was successful. There was an unwavering focus on preserving the natural white of the paper as a highlight, because once it was gone there was no way to retrieve it. I had to plan ahead and calculate my next move, while also preserving my artistic process. When I am making art,  I slip into a different part of my mind, full of arbitrarity and disorganization. It was important to me that I didn't overlook my style because of my medium.

     I used non-local color, the rich purples and oranges in the shadows, to combat how out of place I felt using watercolors. The morphing and exaggeration of true color is something I am used to. It is how I show the observer what I see. As I paint, I discover the hidden values and colors to challenge myself. I hoped that even though I had to be more calculative while using watercolors, I could still channel my spontaneity into the choice of color.

        I included the eye experiment because I think it shows a part of my process that is often hidden. Sometimes when I am starting a piece, I am overwhelmed by the pure white of the page. It gets in my head, and I can't express on paper what my eyes are interpreting. To combat this, I will do micro-experiments, focusing on just one part of the face, in this case an eye. It minimizes the bigger picture and gets me out of the business of my mind.