Every watercolor painting I do is unique, an original. This is true even if I am painting the same subject again, trying to get the second one to look like the first time. Variations in color, the jiggle of my arm when painting an edge, or changes in temperature and humidity which affect the paint’s drying speed all combine to make each watercolor an original, unique.
Karen Bailey, an Australian artist, asked me to repaint a couple of pictures I did last summer, and as I approached the task, I found myself almost paralyzed by the fear of failure. What if I couldn’t paint it again and make it look like the first time? Hollyhocks are not in season now, and I painted the first one from life. I tried all kinds of delaying tactics and excuses – studying the shadow shapes, looking at alternate compositions, and even working on other projects, rather than face the prospect of failure. But as I grew embarrassed at how long this was taking me, I finally got down to work and did another step each day.
Hollyhocks (the first time):
Hollyhocks (the second time):
Hopefully I will remember the next time I go to repaint a picture that not trying is worse than failing, since it is, after all, just paint and paper.