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Don’t Trash it, Fix it! – Lorena Bowser

Don’t Trash it! Fix it!

by Lorena Bowser

I love to try new media, but watercolor will always be my medium of choice. There is a spiritual aspect to using this life-source to create art, and lessons to be learned from its unpredictability.
Watercolors do not always respond as expected, making a painting as much a discovery as a planned work of art. Painting with watercolor requires one to accept the unexpected - a lesson that carries over into daily life.

When I do a watercolor, I usually work with Arches 140 cold press, but I purchased a sheet of hot press paper once to try it out. I was really excited about the painting I had envisioned, and had already “painted it” in my mind several times, so I set to work with confidence. After taking several days to lightly pencil in the foreground detail, in this case, branches with a few last leaves of autumn tenaciously hanging on, I masked the branches and set to work with my largest watercolor brush to paint the background.

My intention was to put in a less-defined composition of leaves turning from green to auburn in contrast with the detail of the foreground branches, but this new paper had other ideas. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the paint to do what I wanted. The more I worked it, the muddier it became. Mud was not my intention at all. But I had worked so long on creating the foreground details, that I couldn't accept the fact that my painting was ruined. Now, what I did next, I don't recommend - as far as my attitude goes that is. Getting angry usually doesn't bring good results.

I became so annoyed and frustrated, that I decided to ruin the painting for good! I took a 5" house painting brush, smashed it repeatedly into the pools of moss green and rust that I had prepared, mixing parts of this into black, and started wildly slapping color onto various areas of the paper in "mock" simulation of the tree trunks and foliage I had first envisioned. I must tell you that I think "something else" was in control. I certainly wasn't (anger will do that to you), because the result was great. I stopped painting and stood there looking at my creation with disbelief. The next step was sheer joy: I spent the next few days lovingly painting the detailed foreground, finished my painting and learned my lesson. The anger part? Maybe. But the real lesson was that no painting need be thrown away.

I have since saved numerous "ruined" art works by looking at them in a whole different way and finding the good in them. Speaking of Art = Life, that's a take on life itself. You can always find good in someone or something if you really look for it! In life, this way of thinking has never failed me. In art, it has become my security blanket. The painting in question is "The Last Leaves." It was the first painting I sold - at $2000! Now I’m planning to take that 5” brush off the hook more often!

Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist.  She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream.  Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com

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