A Visit to Murphy’s House

We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law — the one that says that if anything can go wrong, it will, and that’s about what happened with this cringe-worthy failure, so I’ve taken to calling it Murphy’s House. Surely he must live in a place much like this where everything has gone very wrong.

A Visit to Murphys House

I thought it would be appropriate to post this sorry-looking watercolor today as we come to the final day of World Watercolor Month. I didn’t participate much — for obvious reasons. I am not a watercolor artist.

This attempt at a watercolor began with an awful wash of paint. I wanted bold, bright colors. I just ended up with a soggy mess. At least a bit of my brilliant, sunny, yellow sky still showed through. Maybe I can pick that as the one thing I like about this painting.

After the initial wash, I questioned whether I should bother finishing the painting or if it might be better to toss it in the trash bin. That would have been easier, and it would have saved me the embarrassment of posting this view of Murphy’s house, but I believe I learn as much — if not more — from my failures than I do from my successes. Besides, I promised Carsten Weistand — from Brushpark Watercolors — that I would post this.

As I look at this picture now, it’s almost amusing to recall all the things that went wrong, or to get more to the point, all the things I did wrong. First, I somehow forgot that watercolor painting means working from light to dark. I remembered that as I was painting in one side of the building, and I patted myself on the back as I carefully left a little space where I could later go in to paint bushes at the side of the house. But then, I forgot I was painting a house, thought I was painting an old barn, and I was actually pleased with myself as I painted in the wide, dark barn doors. Only then did I realize that not only was this supposed to be  a house, but I’d just painted right over the space I’d saved for the bushes.

By that point, I didn’t much care what the painting would end up looking like. Another of my big mistakes, you see, was choosing to work on this when I had very limited time. It was a morning when I had an art club meeting on the calendar, and if there’s one thing I have learned about art, it’s that I shouldn’t attempt it when I’m in a hurry.

There were certainly no Zen moments with this horrible watercolor. From its beginnings with a wash that wasn’t, through the mistake in laying in colors, to the careless rush to finish the scene, the painting reflects my inexperience and my frustrations.

I deemed it a fitting place for Murphy to live.



  1. I really enjoyed your honesty 🙂 I’ve had a lot of similar experiences, especially when I get frustrated early on or suddenly get in a hurry 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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