As a youthful art student I was, I think it's fair to say, quite full of myself. I knew just what I wanted (to paint big canvases, murals, and frescoes) and thought I knew what I didn't want. I had the good fortune to attend a school with a mural program and an outstanding drawing program (with instructors who, among other things, really could teach human anatomy.) But the painting program had one requirement that I had no use for. (Or at least so I thought.) All painting majors were required to complete at least one semester of watercolor!
Well, being the arrogant young know-it-all that I was, I had no use for the medium. In fact, I was of the opinion that no serious artist had any use for it either. Obviously watercolor was for Sunday painters. Right? And, so, not wanting to waste my time when I could be producing "more serious works" in oils, I petitioned the senior faculty for a waiver of the watercolor requirement, was granted the dispensation, and went blissfully (or should I say, "blithely"?) on my way.
Fast forward a few years. I've graduated and am set up in a new studio in a new state and have just come up with an idea for a new series of paintings when it strikes me: (This is the "Ah, hay!" moment. The ancient Greeks knew it. Where there is hubris, sooner or later there's gonna be a blind date with a goddess named Nemesis.) "This series is going to be about water." And, "Wouldn't it be great if I did it in watercolor?" Oops!
So, I spent the next two summers struggling, teaching myself the rudimentaries of what I was to learn was a marvelously expressive (and challenging) medium.... And, when I eventually returned to my alma mater for a reunion, I made it a point to look up my dear old faculty mentor and a good laugh at my expense. (I've also shared it with students in every watercolor, sketching, and journaling class I've taught since.)
To paraphrase Douglas Adams's Holistic Detective, Dirk Gently: "We don't always end up where we want to be. But we usually end up where we need to be." (And, if we're luck, we'll get to have a little fun along the way! ;-D)
How about you? Have you ever had an opportunity to grow as an artist, perhaps despite your own hubris or "better" judgement?
Please join me again next week when I will have a new posting to share with you. In the meantime I'll wish you "Happy trails and fun sketching!"
What a gorgeous series, Earnest! And of course I love your story...been there, though not with watercolor...ALWAYS my first love.ReplyDelete
An amazing series of paintings, Earnest! I enjoyed your story too. I started out with acrylics and no formal training. I mostly learned from books and, over the past couple of years, I've been venturing into watercolour. :)ReplyDelete
Hi Serena, I think sometimes "self-taught" is the best way to learn art. You aren't hindered by someone else's rules. So, when you encounter a visual problem there's a much better chance you'll come up with a solution that is new and fresh and original. And, whether formally educated or not, the best artists are the "lifelong learners." (Every morning is the FIRST morning. ;-D) Cheers!Delete
These are gorgeous! Nice to meet you, Earnest!ReplyDelete
Thanks Alex. (BTW, I love the new apples! :-D)Delete
So, coincidentally here it is Sunday and I'm on the internet searching for clues on how to successfully navigate the watercolor to resemble water. I Googled watercolor water and on the lower portion of images I see one of your water series. This is exactly what I was looking for. Glad I found your blog. I started painting in watercolors because I didn't have the space, or the patience, or the cash to paint in oil. This summer, I am ready to delve deeply into oils, but watercolors will always hold that special place in my heart. Thanks for sharing your work.ReplyDelete
Hi Kevin. I'm glad you found the post interesting and useful. Watercolor, as a medium, is amazingly flexible. I have always enjoyed working with oils but it's always a portable watercolor set that goes out the front door with me. As my life has become more mobile watercolor has become even more important to me. (And as my skills have improved it's also become more fun.) Best of luck with the adventure ahead. Cheers!ReplyDelete