No, I’m not saying my painting is “icky” — a word we used back in my high school days usually to describe boys we didn’t want to go out with. Actually, I rather like the painting, only I’d like it a whole lot better if I’d had a little more patience when I did it.

And that’s where ICKY comes in. ICKY, you see, is an acronym, and it, too, goes back to high school days, only in this case it’s the high school days of our daughters. ICKY was a friendly little monster with an important message for driving.



ICKY wasn’t our idea. I read about itΒ and decided it would be a good way to remind our young drivers to slow down and stay safe. If you click on the link above — or the picture — you’ll find information about ICKY.

I guess it’s rather silly to compare watercolorΒ art to driving, and to the best of my knowledge no one has died from impatience while painting. At the same time, I know I’ve killed a few otherwise good landscapes all because I got in a bit of a hurry. Impatience might not kill me, but it can sure ruin a watercolor.

Watercolor 160625 Mountains

Misty Mountain Morning – Watercolor 9 x 12 Arches Cold-Pressed

This wasn’t supposed to have “misty mountains” in the background, but I neglected to let the sky dry before I started painting in the distant peaks. Oops! Well, maybe it would be all right, I decided. Maybe it would look like I deliberately wanted that “misty” effect, as though the tops of the mountains were touching the clouds.

But then, I went right ahead and painted the closer range of mountains without checking to be sure the paper was really dry. You’d think I would learn! Nope. I’m just hoping maybe those little blurry edges could possibly look like trees, but exactly what they’re doing on top of the mountain…well, hey, I’m trying!

Worse still — clumsy me — I managed to splash a few drops of water into the sky. Maybe they could pass for clouds? I know. I’m stretching it.

So, instead of a lovely mountain scene, I have misty mountains topped with trees beneath a sky with splotchy clouds. When will I ever learn?

I’ve decided to get myself an ICKY monster and set it right out where I can see it whenever I pick up a brush and begin to paint. I really need one. NOW! I’ve been at it again this morning, and yes, I have more “misty mountains” in another landscape.

I’m off to find an ICKY!


  1. I like it, I think it contributes to the painting, actually. It gives atmospheric perspective and depth to your work. Debi told me early on that cool colors recede and warm colors advance, which you probably already know, that helped my landscapes too but I think your progress shows in this and the mist is wonderful! Roll on!

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  2. I love it! And I never saw any “flaws”, “mistakes” or “whoopsies”. You see them because you know they are there. I viewed the painting first and thought, “Wow that’s great!” and THEN read your post. And I still thnk it’s awesome, even with the “misty” mountain tops πŸ™‚

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  3. The “happy accidents” are glaringly apparent to you, because you painted the landscape…not so apparent to others. My mother used to tell me I was my own worst critic…which I was. Now not so much! I very much like your misty mountains no matter how you achieved the effect πŸ™‚

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  4. I just can’t marry up your word “icky” with this painting, sorry…..now don’t be a drama queen Judith because truthfully this is one of my favorites of yours! You have to put aside your wanting to criticize your paintings too soon in the game. I still struggle with letting the paper dry, I am so much in a darn hurry but I also am learning that the waiting game is wonderful because you can rest your eyes…..when it is dry, you can look at the painting with fresh eyes. You need breaks anyway, right? But….your mishaps turned out to enhance your painting, which is wonderful! Your mountain in the back has softness and hard edge where needed. I love the comp. your bush or trees on the left side stops the eye from going out of the painting. You have a lot of good going on in this painting. I would say to do some quick sketching like Carsten does, it is truly freeing. In fact, I should be doing that more. By the way, I was teasing you by telling you not to be a drama queen, it is a bit of a tease with a big hug! I love your painting….embrace it just a little!

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    1. Why, thank you, Margaret. I do like the painting. I was just frustrated by my own impatience. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to be patient with watercolor. πŸ™‚

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  5. Beautiful painting Judith! Told you earlier how many paintings I ruined with that same impatience to let the previous wash dry. It is so hard to leave it alone, isn’t it? I ruined lots of good paintings that way. Now I hide the painting and leave the room for a while! This time fortune smiled on you and you came away with a great image.

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    1. Thanks. I’m learning that when it’s time for drying, I have to just leave the room, otherwise I won’t be able to wait long enough. I even tried using my hair dryer for a while, but it broke. LOL. I’ve gotta get a new one soon. πŸ™‚


  6. If you hadn’t pointed them out to me, I wouldn’t have noticed the ‘mistakes’. Even then, I had to really stick my face into the monitor to see it lol! It’s a beautiful painting! My only complaint is that there isn’t a single monster in it (Sorry. I really, really love monsters). πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t done many monsters. I did a dinosaur once, but he looked friendly. A couple nights ago I did do an alien, and now I’m all curious about alien anatomy. Who knows what I’ll do next πŸ™‚ And thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you like the painting.

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