Embracing Imperfections

Despite all the ups and downs along the way in recent weeks, I’m definitely enjoying my art journey.

Not long along I heard an interesting explanation of what a journey is. It’s not a mere trip. Trips are planned with definite destinations at the end; a journey, however, is a process of discovery. While there may be a few general ideas in mind, one who journeys is free to follow intriguing pathways, veer off in different directions, take risks, and experience travel in a very personal way.

I think, as an example, of Lewis and Clark and their Journey of Discovery. There was a purpose more than a plan, a willingness to look, listen, and learn as they made their way westward. It would be a bit facetious, I think, to say they “stopped to smell the roses”, but they weren’t following a strict itinerary, no “We need to be in Kansas by four o’clock” line of thinking.

I didn’t mean to get so far off-track there, but living in an area where Lewis and Clark camped, fished, hunted, and explored gives their expedition a special place in my head and my heart.

Back to my own journey of discovery. That’s what “Artistcoveries” means, you know. It’s an odd, made-up word relating to “art discoveries”. Where it came from, I don’t know. It just popped into my head during that moment of madness when I sat down and created this blog.

Again, I’m wandering, straying off the real topic of this post. That’s how journeys go, though. We think we’re heading in one direction — and maybe we are — but we take a round-about way of getting there.

The topic for this post? Finding — discovering — one’s personal style. To be a bit more precise, the topic is finding my personal style, and to be even more precise, this post is about finding my personal style in watercolor.

Although I’m not primarily a watercolorist, I’ve been spending the spring and summer months playing with watercolor, learning various techniques, and now — hopefully, coming to a point where I have a somewhat definable style of my own.

I’m seeing my style in this recent watercolor from my 100-Day Creative Adventure, one of those side routes I’ve taken on my art journey.

Windrush (3)
Windrush

The painting was based — quite loosely — on “Winter on the Windrush” by Aubrey Phillips.

AP Windrush (2)

For my version, I took what I liked in his watercolor — the almost monochrome hue — and incorporated it into my newly-developing style.

How can I best define my style? It’s loose, soft, and imperfect. There is a lot that’s imperfect in my watercolor, but I let it be that way. In fact, I deliberately created it that way.

Huh? Why?

The most glaring imperfection, perhaps, is how my tree trunks and branches bled out. I should have — I could have — allowed the paper to try a little more before painting in those trees. I didn’t want to. I wanted to paint them in, even knowing that I wouldn’t get crisp, clean lines.

Another imperfection is the vague yellow ochre in the background. It’s supposed to be a tree, and if you look very, very closely, you’ll see a few brushstrokes that are supposed to resemble a trunk and a few branches. But it all dried too light to really make much of an impression. Again, I knew what was happening, shrugged it off to the imperfections in my style of art, and went right on liking this watercolor.

I could do much more with this. Maybe another time I’ll take this out and paint another version of “Windrush”, but for today, this was all I wanted to do. I wanted to celebrate the awareness that I am finding my own style in watercolor, and even more I wanted to acknowledge that I’m beginning to understand what my style is and how to create it.

For now, that means creating a lot of imperfections, and you know what? I think those imperfections may always be part of my style in watercolor. You know what else? I think those imperfections are what I love most.

10 Comments

    1. Thanks. Yes, I think I’m finding my style with watercolor, and an added benefit is that watercolor is helping me “loosen up” with my oil painting.

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