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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Field of Lavender

Watercolor. 6 x 10

For an assignment over at The Painting Loft.

I'm learning that painting is more mental work than I ever dreamed.

I used to have this romantic notion that a "born artist" just sat down at the canvas, waved his/her magic brush, and hey presto!.... a masterpiece! I think I started revising that notion when I began to do some reading about famous artists and realized how many of them seriously studied art. If they needed to study.... well, hey... maybe there's hope after all!

It was another eye-opening revelation when I learned that there are several earlier versions of Mona Lisa under the finished one. What? Da Vinci changed his mind? Scrapped paintings? Started over? Dare I say it....made mistakes? What a relief! Permission to mess up, make mistakes, start over . . . granted!

Particularly with watercolor, I'm beginning to have some notion of how much planning goes into a painting before the brush and paints come out to play. I saw an article in the April issue of Watercolor Artist entitled "Lyrical Landscapes". I was mesmerized by the gorgeous paintings of Joyce Hicks. I loved the looseness, the juicy color, the sense of space and the seemingly effortless way in which the pictures appeared to have been painted. Then I read the accompanying article. Lots of planning. A quote from Ms. Hicks is highlighted, "Sometimes paintings look effortless, and that's because of all the effort that you go to before you actually pick up your brush to do your final piece."

There's that mental work again. Happily, it's very satisfying work. Whether the painting is a success or failure, if you painted something and learned something it was a good day!
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