The Pursuit of Watercolor IMperfection

I just watched a video made by Winsor Newton on adding gum arabic to your watercolor paint when painting outside.  It was a very educational video. I think I might try adding some gum arabic to my watercolor water jar or my paint mixes when I paint outside. Gum arabic slows down the drying time of your paints.

At the end of the video along with the credits the sentence appeared that said, “ Winsor Newton, the pursuit of excellence.”

Its alright for the Winsor Newton people to go for excellence, we need good paints and brushes etc.  BUT,  I don’t think its a good idea for us watercolorists to pursue excellence. I think excellence stresses us out and ties our brushes in a twist (mentally). I find it much better to pursue something 1/2 way between mediocraty and very good. Plus if I can remind myself to focus on the painting process and concentrate on what I am learning and try out new ideas my paintings are a success whether they look like it or not. In the classes I teach, I talk about not expecting perfect paintings.

This Summer I’ve been teaching a class at MiraCosta College called “Developing the Habit of Watercolor Sketchbook Practice.” 

Everyone in the class does their paintings in  an Aquabee mixed media ( a few have other brands) sketchbook. I give out assignments that can be done several different ways so the students can practice lots of different ways to approach painting the subject. I think its working, (the evaluations haven’t been done yet). 

unfinished painting for this weeks assignment, beach and ocean painting.

unfinished painting for this weeks assignment, beach and ocean painting.