Today a break from our Asian adventure and a return to my struggles with watercolor paints. I am blessed and cursed with the ability to see the finished product I want to create in my mind's eye. Usually. Sometimes I see the image, but as I work, sometimes the image changes and morphs into something quite different. Sometimes I don't have the ability to make what I envisioned - at least at that moment. Ironically, when I think I have learned how to do whatever it was I was unable to do earlier, I may have lost the desire or simply dismissed it as no longer worth spending time on.
Why am I going on about this? Because today I finished a painting which I saw in my mind several years ago. I saw it as an oil painting using a brush rather than my preferred palette knife. D and I had traveled to Savannah with another couple on a Road Scholar trip. Like many travelers, we fell in love with the city and the beauty of its parks. I wanted to paint the famous Forsyth Park with its overarching trees and equally renown fountain. In my mind that painting had an Impressionistic flavor. I had the photographs to guide me, and in one of them, D and our two friends were walking toward the fountain. Perfect for my purpose!
This painting, which I have named "La Promenade" (The Walk), does not match the painting in my head. This is watercolor not oil. The colors do not match the palette I thought I would use. These are pastel and soft instead of the vivid brights I prefer and thought I would use. The fountain, which I thought would be the focal point of the work, is now distant and indistinct. Some features have been given only a nod instead of a real presence (the street lamps and benches - only one each in my version).
The only ways in which this matches my ideal is that is bears some semblance to an Impressionistic painting and D and our friends are in it.
What does this tell me? As is so very often the case, the work takes on a life of its own. As I began this version, I realized very early on that since I had decided to use watercolor rather than oils (much easier to carry to class and home again with no noxious smells), I should use the techniques of that medium - layers of washes and loose brushstrokes (not fully realized here). Then I discovered I was mixing pastels rather than the strong colors I had thought to use.
The subject was calling the shots!
So there you have it. There's no real way I can always tell exactly what a creation will look like no matter what my plans may be. Some deeper, hidden portion of my spirit weighs in and may take over while I'm not looking.