The accidental Christmas tree
Over the past few weeks I amassed a stash of candy canes, traditional bonbons, even Christmas Peeps, with the idea of painting a holiday candy image. I spent a morning arranging them and photographing compositions in various locations—simple, complex, lots of stuff, only a few pieces, in daylight, in moody light, on fabric, on wood—and had over 100 different reference photos to look at. The photo art director in me had a good time, but in the end, nothing inspired me, so I went back and simplified everything and shot a dozen more photos in the kitchen. It wasn’t until these images were viewed on my 27″ iMac that I saw it: out the window behind the mason jar of candy canes, was a Christmas tree. How perfect. There was my painting.
Accidents with paint, paper and image are part of working with watercolor and we learn to embrace this. The unexpected becomes the creative part of the painting, like areas where two wet colors touch each other and the paint blooms. I love this, and intentionally put this in where I can. Sure, it would look more photographic, more realistic, without this, but that’s not the point. Besides, if the image gets too messed up, there’s always another sheet of paper waiting for another day another painting.
Watercolor and graphite
Arches cover stock, 140 lb, 13.75″ x 21″