Wakodahatchee Wetlands – I know what I like
Over last weekend, I decided to go back to the idea of taking one of my photos (that I probably would have used to create a representational watercolor landscape) and try to use it to create an abstract. Well. From a photo I took at Wakadohatchee Wetlands in Florida I did four small sketches and one larger one, in the process solving a couple of problems but creating a couple more. All in all, some progress, but no cigar. Then on Wednesday, I showed them to Frank O’Cain (my abstract artist extraordinaire teacher) who offered a couple of suggestions and agreed with a couple of my own ideas for improvement. Yet another version and I like the result and Frank does too.
And if it seems to you that I might be deferring too much to what Frank has to say, I beg to differ. Over time I will build up my own idea of what a successful abstract watercolor painting is, but right now it’s still too new and I’m still not sure how to define “good” in this context. I know what I like, but at this stage I often don’t know if I could make it better or how.
I remember all too well the comment made by a good friend (who also happened to be a good artist) when I asked what he thought about the first painting I had done that I liked enough to frame and put up on my office wall. His response? “It’s the best thing you have done so far but there will come a time when you will gladly take it off the wall.” Bob, of course, was right and it took less than 6 months before the painting came down. However, I kept it propped up on a shelf for years as a reminder of how fleeting my satisfaction and feeling of confidence could be. It also continues to remind me of where I started and how much better I’ve gotten.