Caineville Watercolor, detail
This is a small watercolor I did 8 or 9 years ago that I am really happy with. I started out painting by working in watercolor and with just a little instruction I found myself exploring what was possible in the medium without a great deal of technical knowledge. I know watercolors have a reputation for creating tight and finicky painting in beginners and I certainly made a lot of tight, finicky and tedious little watercolors starting out. But one thing I eventually found was that the medium, the difficult to control behavior of pools of wet paint, the random irregularities of paper and the often unpredictable degree of movement and lifting possible with wet surfaces makes transparent watercolor painting unsuitable to a technique that insists on a lot of control of the placement of color and minutiae of detail. Watercolors for me is the land of many failed experiment, unpredictable results and the occasional happy accident. Looking back I feel like I have gotten my best results in watercolor when I have yielded to the randomness inherent in the process and stayed mindful of the notion that a viewer of an image will “fill in the details” and do a lot of the hard work of perceiving what can’t really be painted. The viewer’s pattern-seeking perceptual proclivities, combined with the almost fractal-like level of detail imaginable with closer and closer looking at a watercolor surface will fill out a painting better than anything I could hope to control with a brush and pools of watercolor paint.