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End of Spring Paint Out

June 20, 2011

Gordon MacKenzie is a master at watercolor and he had this to say about the medium in his book The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook: “…a word of caution: Watercolors are not for the faint-of-heart but for those willing to explore and experiment, knowing that they risk failure, knowing that each piece of paper will not end as a masterpiece”. To that I raise my glass and cheer “Here, Here!”  because this elusive medium, more then any other, exposes your ignorant pigment-otry “faster then green grass through a goose.” Truly when it comes to watercolor there is nowhere to hide. Unlike acrylic’s ability to easily paint over your unhappy mistakes, unchartered layering in watercolor gives you a dirty ol’ mud-bath.

Linda Holcomb is another watercolor painter and fellow blogger who like me, experienced almost two decades of inactivity from one of her creative passions. So when she issued a call for a Paint Out to celebrate the end of Spring I decided to join in the fun. She suggested that our inspiration be taken from a line in an E. E. Cummings poem that reads “the leaping greenly spirits of trees” and to express ourselves in our medium of choice

I choose Linda and Gordon’s medium for this challenge because I’m a wanna-be watercolorist. Boy do I ever wish watercolor distributors would label their expensive little paint tubes with the paints main characteristics. Manipulating tinted water that is sometimes transparent, sometimes semi-transparent, sometimes opaque, sometimes high-staining, and sometimes low staining, with effectively a blind fold on, makes me throw my hands in the air feeling defeated before I’ve even begun.

To Gordon I give you my un-masterpiece and to Linda, I give you my greenly tree who in spirit at least, is about to take a leap. What the heck, failures are worth celebrating too. For those of you who think that perhaps I’m being humble about my attempt, check out Gordon’s paintings to see what a real watercolorist’s work looks like. Also check out Linda’s post to see her Paint Out results. Everyone who contributed work to the challenge can be found linked in the comments section.

© Dana Aubrey

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2011 6:23 am

    Dana, This is wonderful! Funny, whimsical and, what is so amazing, you already have a unique vision and perspective that comes through. That is very unusual when just starting out. And boy do we learn from everything we do, don’t we! Great work…

    • June 21, 2011 8:23 am

      Thank you so much Linda. We do learn best from our mistakes as they say. I’m actually thinking of giving it another go to see if I can put into practice what I learned from this one.

      I really loved how your painting showed the light coming through the canopy. I wish I could do that. Maybe one day and with lots of practice. 😉

  2. June 21, 2011 7:34 am

    What a creative version of Linda’s challenge, Dana! I love the tree trunk transposed to legs!
    May I say that the things you have listed, here, as challenges to watercolor are the very reasons that I watercolor? I don’t think it possible to ever feel not challenged by them. Excellent post!

    • June 21, 2011 8:36 am

      Thank you Leslie. There is a story behind the legs and acorns but I did not have time to compose it as of yet.

      I’ll try not to let the frustration get to me with this medium. I made a promise to myself that I will keep on jumping in watercolor puddles until I discover the joy in it.

      By the way regarding your very beautiful version, I have never heard of masa paper. The batik effect it creates under your painting is so interesting. I gotta get me some of that!

  3. June 21, 2011 8:32 am

    Very creative, and so different compared to all others.

    • June 21, 2011 8:51 am

      Thank you kindly. It’s great to see how we all interpret things differently hey?!

  4. June 21, 2011 12:54 pm

    Dana, very nice work. I love the idea. Thanks for sharing.

  5. June 21, 2011 1:50 pm

    This is terrific, Dana!!! I loved reading it as much as looking at the painting. It made me feel happy, thinking of that tree about to leap! Great post!!!

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