Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"La Promenade"

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!

Okay, here it is in a not very good cell phone photo:

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.


  1. I'm a Monet fan -- so I do love this one. The soft colors - to me - are perfect. I think the people walking to the fountain really is my focus. And once again, your art it totally beautiful !!!

  2. I enjoy looking at this one. it may not have been what you had in your head, but do they ever come out like we see it in our minds eye, I think not.much like the fabric telling us where to go next, your paintings are talking to you :)