Kinda Circle Grids: Hard Edge Watercolor and Pen Sketchbook Studies

Earlier this year I started painting hard-edge, watercolor, kinda circle girds. I call them “kinda circles” because they’re just partial circles. In p5.js they’d be called arcs, but I prefer “kinda circles.” The kinda circle grids look similar to some of my other watercolor generative art, but all of the paintings to date have been drawn and painted by hand.

I started painting the circles in a sketchbook to explore some ideas before moving to larger paintings on paper. This post is a recap of some of the sketchbook studies that led to the larger paintings (topic for a future post).

I started with an idea to paint some overlapping partial circles.

Initial kinda circle grid. Hard edge, geometric watercolor over pen.

Then I decided to put them in a grid.

Hard edge, geometric watercolor kinda circles over a pencil grid.

Then I wanted to see what they would look like with polygons inside the grid.

Kinda circles with polygons that makes it look like the circles are sitting on a hill.

Then I decided that I wanted to draw the grid in pen and get rid of the polygons.

Hard edge watercolor circles with a pen grid.

Then I changed from painting the kinda circles with a wet on dry technique to wet on wet. Changing to wet on wet really opened up what I was doing. It’s much easier to get a hard crisp edge on shapes with wet on dry because you tend to reduce the cauliflower edges.

One of the final kinda circle sketchbook studies. The hard edges are cleaner from a wet on wet technique.

One of the things I’ve seen with painting the kinda circles is that you learn as you go. Each version takes the previous version and expands on it slightly.

The nice thing about the sketchbook is that if you really hate the painting it’s over pretty fast and you learn what not to do quickly. When I started painting I wanted to paint large, but I’ve been seeing the value of starting small to explore ideas before moving larger.

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