Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't Forget to Play

Watercolor is a wonderful medium for giving the artist gifts; they've often been called "divine accidents". Taking advantage of these gifts adds magical energy to a painting. We learn to see and use these unexpected wonders by playing with paints. Not every painting needs to be a masterpiece: don't take yourself too seriously. Take time to play with paint, take risks, and push limits just to see what will happen -- this can be reason enough to paint. Watch and observe and tap into your creative process.

By doing playful paintings, we learn how the paint moves across the paper and to expect the unexpected. We also learn how to control the accidents and help them work for us. Relax, don't force the paint; if we're uptight and work too hard, our work will come across stiff and contrived.

"Country Boy Mine" uses illusion to suggest weathered wood and rusting tin. Yet, on close inspection, these passages are just flowing washes of pigment that I painted in a playful manner. We learn more from playing than we can imagine, and, remember, you can always paint on the back of the paper!