A Happy Accident

We’ve all heard it said. Watercolor often leads to happy accidents, those unplanned things that take us by surprise when we’re painting.

That’s how this scene came about. For starters, I’d had a rather frustrating day, so every time I walked past the table where my watercolors are sitting, I would just look the other way. After my disappointing painting yesterday, I wasn’t sure I wanted to set myself up for more discouragement.

But, it’s World Watercolor Month, and I’ve agreed to paint every day. Maybe it would actually make me feel better, I decided. I’d forget about barns and farmhouses and paint a very simple scene. I actually had a seascape in mind. What would be more relaxing and soothing than a few ocean waves rolling in to shore? I might add in a few rocks, I thought.

I decided I wanted a yellowish, greyish sky — maybe that was a reflection of my mood — and then, being in a perverse mood, I grabbed more Payne’s gray while the sky was still wet. I didn’t want to wait. I knew I couldn’t paint rocks while everything was wet, but I didn’t care. I did it anyway.

And something very different then emerged. Instead of ocean and rocks, I saw a misty morning scene, one that reminded me a lot of going out on the lake very early in the morning. I liked what I saw, so I touched it up a bit, added a few birds in the sky, and called it done.

It was, indeed, a happy accident.

Watercolor 160701 Misty Morning Marsh

It might not look like much to other viewers, but all things considered, I was very pleased with this misty morning scene — unplanned though it was.


    1. Thanks! I appreciate the invitation, too, and will stop by later if I can. I’m having a fairly busy morning here at home for the 4th of July holiday weekend. πŸ™‚

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  1. A beautiful and serene happy accident! I’m glad to see this relaxed painting. Its a great reminder for me to take the excitement a notch down and start to unwind as we are about to have dinner.

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    1. I was really frustrated when I started painting…lots of things going wrong during the day. Having this “happy accident” definitely made me feel better. πŸ™‚

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      1. I’m glad you feel better now, Judith. Sometimes it just sucks when we can’t get the image that is in our head on paper right away. But since you are a very positive person and looks at the bright side almost instantly, that happy accidents welcome you with a smile too.

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      2. I go through a lot of artistic “ups and downs”, feeling very pleased one day and convinced the next that I’ll never get better. All part of the learning process. πŸ™‚

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      3. Oh I know how that feels.The never ending roller coaster ride of highs and lows. But the best thing is, we get up everyday, show up to do something that will help us get better. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks! My husband looked at it and said “That’s interesting”. I replied “Yeah, I figured that’s what you’d say.” He immediately replied with “Oh, I can tell what it is. It’s a lake scene with weeds and grasses around it…” So I realized it really was what I was seeing. That made me happy. πŸ™‚

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  2. Yes! This is beautiful. Reminds me of some of Debi’s abstract landscapes. I would surely call this done and the three birds was a wonderful composition choice too. Woo! Oh I’m very curious to see in which direction your road winds! Images like these are why I still roll the dice with WC, even though I know going in that I don’t have the skills and certainly lack the confidence. Roll on, Judith!

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  3. Beautiful image filled with atmosphere. It may be a happy accident, but for these to happen the artist has to turn up day after day to witness and help give birth to the accident. That is called skill! Well done!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I’m “showing up” every day, some days more enthusiastically than others. πŸ™‚ It is fun to try different things and see what happens.


    1. Oh, thanks! I have a few more “minimalist” ideas in mind for future watercolors this month. I want to explore as many different ideas as I can…so you’re liable to see anything! πŸ™‚

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  4. Sometimes a piece will tell us what it wants to be! I think I will make something, and (in my case) the clay says, no this is what I am today. And it is all for the better. Shows what a good listener you are!
    And I like the birds in this painting – a good finishing touch, imho.

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