A look at the development of “The Space Between Us”.

Anyone that knows my work, knows that I like to do pieces that show people in a way that makes the viewer wonder about the situation. In “The Space Between Us”, I wanted to show some obvious tension between a couple. I started with the man, and experimented with background shapes, and styles. I had just finished another painting of a “Man Without a Chair”, so I decided to leave it off here as well. 

“Focal Point”

Watercolor, Art 17×24
September 2020

Someone asked, “Is that you in the painting?” Maaaybe.. (photo circa 1977)

Experimenting with

“Mac’s Gray”

March 2021

At this point in my watercolor evolution I was playing with a couple things – 1) a transparent black I had developed – I call it ‘Mac’s Gray’, and 2) using masking to develop a painting through multiple value layers. So, the next stage of this painting used both of these to first produce a monochromatic version.

I added the woman and devised some different background elements. The floor to be disjointed to emphasize the tension. I experimented with a dyad of turquoise and crimson applied over the grays. I wasn’t pleased with the result, so I stretched another sheet and started again.

See how to mix this gray on John’s Blog by clicking the button below.

A new sheet, first mask, first wash

In the final version, I repeated the use of frisket to develop three different value layers, but instead of layering with gray, I used Phthalo Turquoise and Quinacridone Rose – with just a splash of Quinacridone Gold for the first layer. The colors were kept separated as much as possible for the figures and the table, but allowed to merge in other areas to produce bluish gray.

“The Space Between Us”

Watercolor by John McLaren
Art 20 x 26

“Best of Show”
Woman’s Club of Paducah 85th Annual Art Show

April, 2022

Framed Painting, 30×37
Available for purchase: $1750