If you have done more than a few watercolors there have been times when something extra special happens while painting. We’ve heard these moments called “happy accidents”. They are happy, but accidents? Maybe not. It may be a lucky moment of discovery. Almost like magic. It may be the advancement of your skill.
Real accidents can happen, messy and not good. It does happen. Recently I tore up and trashed several large pieces of what had been really nice rag paper. Both sides had been painted, wash-off was tried. They were beyond reasonable use. The paper was truly worn away. Out they went. I call that quality control. I’ll bet you’ve done that also.
And…there are times when good things happen that we try to duplicate and it’s not always easy. It might even be the very part of that painting that catches the eye of the public or a juror. If something happens that mysteriously adds to your collection of skills consider yourself lucky and keep it if you can.
I have a quote saved from a long ago. It’s from the great American author Tennessee Williams. Maybe it speaks to our subject even though he was, of course, talking about his art of writing. He said, “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
Is that not an honorable goal of any artist? Your painting or mine may be simple and only a small slice of life, but the truth, indeed!
Over the decades I have painted watercolors I have discovered several things by so-called happy accident. I keep them in my pocket, up my sleeve. That sounds like a secret. Not so, I have no secrets but I have discovered several things that may still be unique in my work.
Some of you have watched me “paint” with old kitchen pot scrapers, my fingers, brushes chopped into weird shapes, self-made rubber stamps, a worn paper towel in my left hand and anything else that gets the result I’m looking for. Here is some of that “junk”. If you have extra and strange ways of painting, we’d be delighted to see that. Whatever is in your pocket or up your sleeve, be friendly and show us.