Peter Jabolokow’s interview is live on the blog this week, and when I asked him about his process, he was nice enough to send along a step-by-step watercolor demo so you can really get a chance to see everything that goes into his beautiful paintings.
Peter's process begins with chaos.
“When I start painting, I need to loosen up, so I tend to throw paint and masking fluid at the paper and move it around. I then have something to react to, and the painting can start,” he says.
He splatters with both masking and then also with watercolor paints. Watercolor is transparent so this affords him a lot of flexibility when working this way.
Next, it's about getting big shapes to their general value.
“To keep from chopping up larger shapes too much, I get an area close to the overall value and color, then sculpt it, lightening and darkening to create detail while holding on to the larger shape,” says Peter.
Above you can see what an area looks like before and after the masking is removed.
Occasionally Peter will need to scrub out an area.
"If something does get muddy, I will pull up the area by placing tape on it and cutting out a stencil with an Exacto knife, then scrub hard with a toothbrush (hard, but not very long, or the surface suffers). I try not to cut into the paper, but nothing horrible happens when I do. Scrubbing without tape leaves the edges murky. I like clean edges. I then start over in that area, sometimes adding sizing to make up for the scrubbing. When an overworked area is scrubbed halfway, the paint usually feels dense, so I like to rub out as much as I can and start from scratch."
Once an area is scrubbed, he'll go back in and work on it again.
"Not wanting to change something because I spent a lot of time on it is often a mistake. I don't care how much work I put into something. If it doesn't look good, I fix it," says Peter.
Peter works carefully though and he knows the risks.
"Going back and forth, continually putting in and taking out is dangerous. By the third try, the paper is near death," says Peter.
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