Marc Taro Holmes, whose watercolors I have long admired, has gotten together on Facebook with a few friends as administrators to issue a 30-day challenge for the month of June, called 30x30 Direct Watercolor. It's basically another daily practice challenge to get people into the discipline of painting every single day, a goal to which I aspire but almost never achieve. But the part that's different is the word "direct." His challenge is specifically to paint with little to no pre-drawing involved, to think in colors, shapes, masses, and light, rather than getting stuck on outlines and details. Since I have been all about the contour ever since I studied with Brenda Swenson and took up drawing with a pen, this is radically different for me.
I started thinking back, and can't honestly remember ever making a painting without first making a fairly elaborate and complete drawing. So I'm going to try it. It's not a requirement for the month, so I may also do some of my usual ink-and-then-watercolor efforts. But it's definitely a good method to change the way I look at my subjects, and it's probably about time I took on something different.
I had a little time this morning, so I did a straight, brush-to-paper rendering of the orange tree in my back yard as a practice, anticipating June. It definitely looks different to my regular efforts. This month will be interesting.