While sorting through a bunch of boxes I came across some old paintings. I have to admit that I don’t paint, or even sketch as much as I should. In the last few years painting and drawing has been mostly restricted to whatever project (read: paying work) that I happen to be doing at the time. And when it’s not illustration work, it’s design work on the computer, a medium about as far removed from the wonderful frustrating idiosyncrasies of watercolour as one can possibly get.
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with watercolour. I love how it looks in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. I love the potential of it. I hate the crushing disappointment that comes when my initial inspiration ends up in horrible, muddy failure or worse, tight, overwrought lifelessness.
In the past, I went through periods of time where I would pick up enough courage to tackle watercolour unprovoked and uncomissioned. I’d usually end up disappointed with the result and file the attempts away in a drawer.
There’s a lot to be said for revisiting a piece much later, after the initial inspiration has passed. The perception of it ends up more technical and less emotional.
A few years later, these rude attempts don’t look as horrible as I initially thought. They’re still far from masterful, but each one has a passage or two in it that hints at the possibility of future competence with a bit more practice.