I believe it’s important for us to try many different things in art. Since I began my journey of discovery, I’ve explored many different media and have tried different subjects. I feel I’ve benefited from every attempt I’ve made at drawing and painting.
Still, I think there are times when we must accept the fact that we’re not able to do a particular thing — at least not at that particular time — and move on to something else. I’m been stuck in a difficult rut, you see, and I haven’t been able to dig myself out. A thought that comes to mind is that oft-repeated definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
What I’ve been working on are repeated attempts to create a personal version of May Morning, a watercolor by Aubrey Phillips.
Correct me if I’m wrong — I probably am — but to me, this doesn’t look like an exceptionally difficult painting. Maybe part of my problem is that I didn’t really study the painting before attempting my own version, and most likely part of my problem was that in some ways I feel as though I’ve painted this scene time and time before.
Consider how similar this is to one of my very first watercolors, painted back in 2016.
Two years ago, during one of my plein air attempts at our city park, I used oils to paint a very similar scene.
Neither painting is very good, and I’d like to think that I could do better today, both with oil and with watercolor. That would be a lie, however, because over the last week I have repeatedly tried! Each successive attempt I’ve made seems to be worse.
Of course, I began by attempting to follow along with the guidance Aubrey Phillips gives in Watercolour Painting with Aubrey Phillips, the book I’m using as the basis of my 100-Day Creative Art Adventure. The results were not good, but being determined to complete a painting, I tried again. And again.
I was hoping that possibly “third time’s charm” might prove to be true. It wasn’t. The more I tried, the worse my paintings became.
At this point, I’ve lost track of the order in which these paintings were done, but just take a look at all these awful paintings!
I’ve tried a lot of different methods and approaches. More water. Less water. Different color mixes. Different watercolor paper. The more I tried painting this deceptively simple scene, the worse my paintings became.
Finally, I decided that “enough is enough,” and in this case, it’s more than enough. I should have pushed this project aside sooner rather than later and moved on to new adventures in my 100-Day Creative Art project.
This is one instance in which persistence did not pay off. I grew more and more frustrated with each attempt, which meant less and less likelihood of producing good results.
Later — much later — it will be fun to go back, look at these paintings again, and remember how I struggled with this woodland scene. Maybe later — much, much later — I’ll try painting it again.
But for now, thankfully, I’m just going to accept the fact that I can’t paint this quiet little scene of a spring morning in the woods. I’m going to give it up and go on to other paintings. About time, huh?