There is meditation in making bread. The coming together of simple elements, transformed by hands and patience into something sublime. In this season of slowing down and coming indoors, it’s time to appreciate the subtle aroma of yeast; it’s time for kneading dough into a smooth, glossy form; it’s time for breaking bread. Coming indoors also seemed like a good time for me to try something new and stretch my skills. You can read more about that below, or just indulge me in a new subject and way of painting this week.
Tips and Techniques– Instead of using transparent watercolors, I painted this piece with opaque watercolors known as gouache. Like traditional watercolors, gouache is mixed with water, but it differs substantially because it can be worked loose and wet or thick and heavy, more like acrylics or oils. Getting the right consistency takes practice.
Another difference is that gouache is painted dark to light, which bent my usual way of thinking and working. So did using white and black—colors I typically avoid– to tone colors lighter or darker. Still, gouache seems more solid and painterly to me; and that’s what I wanted here. There is a lot of subtle shading to this piece, which made it both challenging and satisfying. Where does white shift to pale gray to deep shadow to create folds in the towel? How does light create form and change the color of dough from tan to golden to tanish-gray? How does a tiny thread of white convey light on the rim of the bowl? Good challenges indeed for my week.