It’s a watercolor life


I attended my first watercolor painting class and my eyes may never see the same. The class was very basic. I made a color wheel and did some technical practice. The class involves sketching so I will practice that regularly also. I am surprised how instantly my perception of the world changed. Now when I look at mountains, trees, flowers or the river, I notice colors; I wonder how to sketch what I see. There are many leaves and branches on a tree! How do I sketch a bunch of leaves so they will look like leaves? My mind knows what the leaves look like but will I be able to portray the vision; texture, color, movement to paper? What colors make the bark look that way or the mountain look bluish or greyish?

I started sketching practice right away–I need to have something to paint, right? I drew a scene of water, shore and shrubs. There’s so much detail in this world. How much do I include? How do I make wavy water? What a lot of work! The world is in constant motion and change — what a joke, to draw a two-dimensional representation of a multi-dimensional reality. What a challenge. The ordinary is revealed extraordinary.

I think that perhaps much of reality’s detail can/should be absent from a sketch, leaving just a hint. Then there’s more for the viewer to ‘see’ with their imagination, and each viewer’s rendering will be different. Oh yeah, I remember now, ‘Less is more.’

I’m enjoying seeing the world in watercolor. I could sit in one place for 1/2 an hour and draw or paint a 2-dimensional version of a tree on my paper. Then as soon as I stand and walk slightly one way or another, there’s a new version–a new picture! There are infinite moments and representations of this beautiful world. I wonder what I look like; infinite possibilities. What moment of this day could be captured with cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson or cobalt blue? By the time the choice is made, the moment has changed and we get just a hint of Reality; just one version of infinite watercolor life. What do you see?

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