Post Secret Garden: Experimental watercolor with Blue Jay

16″ x 20″ watercolor and aquarelle on cold press paper

For those of you not familiar with my journey, I spent the last year creating a painting series I called “The Secret Garden”. My idea was to take my love of garden foliage, local animals, color, textile pattern and symbolism through everyday objects and ancient symbols. I wanted to incorporate all my passions into one body of work.

The paintings are large aprox. 20×24″. I created probably 20 small watercolor studies before I created the large paintings. Because of this, I feel like these paintings have a formality and exactness that comes with so much analysis.

By the time I finished the series, which was a year long, I wanted to scream! I’m not sure if you’ve heard the old adage that artists have difficulty in finishing their artwork because after you have completed it in your mind, you are finished. Why go any further? This is so true. In month 1 out of 12, I was already finished in my mind’s eye. That means there were 11 months of grueling work to catch up to my brain’s idea. LOL.

So, this blue jay painting is in response to all of that careful calculation. I just wanted to paint something with NO PLAN. I didn’t want to know where I was going through the entire painting. That means no planning, no sketching. I just showed up with a paintbrush and watercolor box and “winged it”. I added a little bit here, there and all over until it felt complete. Boy did that feel good. At the same time, I now had a wealth of experience with my secret garden concept, so why not try to make a painting a little more free form and unexpected but dealing with the same subject matter? So as I went along painting this blue jay painting, I enjoyed hiding objects and symbols throughout the painting.

I really enjoyed this process. It felt so freeing. I want to keep going and see what I can come up with in a more loose-free-flowing format. Unfortunately/fortunately, I just invested in a pottery studio which means I won’t be painting for a while until I financially pay off some debts, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about it. As I mentioned, most art is created in the mind way before it manifests in the real world. I’m thankful for this gift, my mind can be a beautiful place sometimes :)

Thankfully my painting was accepted and is currently in an exhibit at South County Art Association. I was just there helping to hang the show. There is such a diverse range of art on exhibit. I can’t help but look at the entire gallery and smile at how vastly different all of our human brains are. As humans, we are capable of envisioning such a diverse range of thoughts, concepts and expression. I feel truly humbled and gracious to be part of this special community. The community of humanity.

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