Watercolor Cursing

I hate watercolors.

They are runny and hard to control. No matter how little I think I’m getting on my brush, I’ve got too much. They highlight your poor brush technique. They are a subtle medium (and I’m a rather ham-fisted artist). They command more attention to technique than I am willing to give.

So, obviously, I must continue using watercolors. Dammit.

My morning meditation went horribly awry once I tried to apply the cursed watery color. What I ended up with only turned out acceptably after I gave up my original vision for what I wanted to do and let the piece lead me instead of the other way around.

There’s a spiritual lesson in there I’m sure. But I’m mostly just disgruntled about how much I hate watercolors. Instead my meditation turned into a discursive reflection about artistic mistakes I make and how they parallel those in my life.

My mistakes, in art and in life, come from three places:

Ignorance: Lacking understanding of technique and the medium.
Inattention: Getting in a hurry or letting my mind wander.
Frustration: Clumsy attempts to wrangle control when control is not mine to be had.

And so, the bad paintings (like this morning’s) must be painted, if only to assault these demons.

Granted these are not the only types of mistakes I make. I do stuff that’s outright wrong that I know is wrong when I do it. But I find no artistic parallel for that. Those can be handled through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But no amount of confession will eliminate my particular demons of Ignorance, Inattention, and Frustration. That takes practice.

And so I must keep using the damn watercolors.

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