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13 May 2016

Life Lessons From Yellow Paint

The kids need to play outside, and I wanted to practice with my yellow paints, and do some of the activities from April's Watercolor Challenge. It was lovely, and once I'd played with copying some of the yellow pictures from the book, I grabbed a dandelion and tried my hand at that, too.

The rain chased us in, but it was lovely while it lasted. And I have a couple of observations: 

1. Watercolors are a patient game. You build from pale to intense colors, and today I wanted to fling my paper across the yard because my dandelion looked like a pale yellow blob. And when I tried to add the next layer, even sitting in a breeze, it wasn't dry enough and turned to mush. But my painting wasn't broken; it just wasn't finished. Life is like that. Doesn't look like we planned. Isn't turning out. But it's not done, either.

2. Watercolors are pretty forgiving, particularly when the paint is still wet. I dabbed up the mushy mess. It took more of the base yellow than I wanted, so I added another layer of the lightest yellow. Which worked beautifully. It added layers and depth to my painting which I had not planned to put in. There's lots of life lessons here. Mushy messes are not the end of the world; dab it up and move forward. Forgiveness makes it like there was never a mistake in the first place. Grace is a gift we all need.

3. It's easy to use too much water. That makes things more difficult, and the whole process takes longer. Pretty sure there's a lesson about over doing, over thinking, over committing there, too. All those things are so easy to do, just like it's easy to get too much water in the paint. The only solution for my painting was to get rid of the excess. Sometimes, we just need less.

So I think it was a pretty successful painting exercise. And the more I learn about watercolors, the more impressed I am with my Great Grandma Stevens. She painted tons. And she did big ones; my biggest one so far has been about four inches square. She did so many that when they settled the estate every family member who wanted one got one. My dad has two, and they're not small. The one he calls "The Sheepwagon" is in their living room:

It's a long way from my experimental dandelion to doing something as nice as Grandma Stevens' sheepwagon painting. But she would have been a beginner once, too. I just need practice. Learning to paint has a lot to recommend it, but one nice thing is the way it lets me connect with her. I like that.


Anne Chovies said...

I like that first life's lesson; when it doesn't look like we planned it's not broken. It's just not done.

Ritsumei said...

Yeah. That one is my favorite from this batch of lessons, too.


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