Enjoy life now... it has an expiration date.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"1,000 Vibrant Mistakes" and Pesky Rabbits....

This is one of the adorable (although I could think of several other less complimentary adjectives) rabbits that are wreaking havoc on my Black Eyed Susans. I get up most mornings to rabbits in the flower bed, and, invariably, where a tall Black Eyed Susan once swayed gently in the breeze, just about to open its bloom, there now sits one bare stalk - leafless, bloomless - and gnawed down to about 8 inches tall.

I'm torn between enjoying the playful antics of these furry, cottontailed marauders (they're SO cute, and they do have to eat too) and wanting to protect my flowers that I've lovingly planted, watered, fertilized and babied. Not wishing to harm the rabbits, I'm trying red pepper. So now if they nibble on a flower, it will no doubt be the spiciest food they've ever eaten. We'll see if it works. We live on a farm... there's vegetation everywhere, so it's not like there's a shortage of rabbit food around here.

In the meantime I decided to make the best of the situation and get in some painting practice using one of my furry little pillagers as the subject. This is not a "fresh" painting - I worked parts of it to death - but it's okay because I wasn't aiming for a pretty painting. I was aiming for some time to experiment, practice and just observe what works and what doesn't work for me in watercolor. I tried to completely suspend judgement - silence the inner critic - so I'd be free to experiment and enjoy. And enjoy I did!

What I learned from this little painting:

- I give up the white space too easily and too quickly. I don't know why I have a tendency to want to put paint everywhere, but when I do, I'm never happy with the result. I love watercolors that have little chinks of white scattered throughout the painting .... gives it so much life and sparkle. I want to discipline myself to keep that in mind when painting and keep more white.

- I need to stay focused on what I'm doing when the brush hits the paper. The more focused I am, the more likely I won't have to rework that area. When my mind starts drifting while the paint brush is still moving it's almost never a pleasing result. Focus, Teresa!

- It's good to allow myself time to "play" as I did with this painting. By playing, I'm gradually developing what Laure calls a "visual vocabulary" and, as with words, the larger the vocabulary, the easier it is to clearly express yourself.

- Learn to love the "mistakes" - they represent progress. Every scrubbed out and reworked area, every poor color choice, every spot where the paint was too strong or too watery, was welcome. I recently "met" a blogger, Keith, who left a great comment on one of my posts. He said,

"Mistakes are essential, they surprise and challenge you. It's how you learn. I would rather a piece with a thousand vibrant mistakes than one of dead perfection."

A thousand vibrant mistakes vs. dead perfection. I love it!

If you get a chance, drop by and visit Keith here. He's got some great people sketches and a quirky sense of humor. Love the name of his blog, "Lining a Drawer".... because, he explains, Drawing a Line was already taken!

In the meantime, I'll let you know how the red pepper works.
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