Watercolor on Illustration board 15″x20″
There are places
Where the melting snow flows
Where beside a stream grows
The wild tree
Random glances in open spaces
Where the searching eye goes
Where the sunlight shows
The unlocking key
Earth warming traces
Where new reflections pose
Where all life knows
Spring ….. is breaking free
—John Michael Cook
All paintings unfold from a frozen state into a visual thawed state. Much like spring, they were planted sometime before, awaiting the warming light of inspiration to bring them forth. An idea comes into mind by some form of germination, or experience, or suggestion, from some stimulating moment. Even the simplest of images are born this way.
This image is a mixed process watercolor. Done with wax paper resist. Salt over the watercolor washes, and gouache white line brush stroke and drafting pen stroke.
Graphite on light bond paper, 11″x17″ (2002).
Often when a first doodling turns to a sketch, it seems words take part in the making of an idea. This was a case where a poem came into mind as the doodle became a drawing, and after a bit it became a rendering of a whole concept. The poem was setting there waiting for an image.
Often it is engaging to start a sketch with a basic shape, in this case a circle, and after giving a few guide lines it looked as a crescent moon. With a little dabbling it soon became a moonlit garden and it needed people. It is unusual for me to come at a picture this way; I usually “see” the idea and refine it rather than see a refinement become a picture.
It is both disappointing and delighting to “find” an image rather than “create” an Idea.
This happens with watercolor painting, and painters a lot, the finding or accidental flowering of a great painting controlled but not contrived. They call them happy accident paintings, and over time take credit for the guided masterpiece. I suppose it is true that mastery of the medium is a form of creating. To me, it is more rewarding to see and then render, than to render and then see.