I spent the long Memorial Day weekend up in Maine near Acadia. In my mad scramble to get out of the house in time to beat the traffic, I grabbed art supplies haphazardly and managed to pack my travel watercolor set and my sketchbook but no watercolor paper. Lesson learned! That thin sketchbook paper barely held up to the watercolor and did quite a bit of buckling, but it was also liberating. The preciousness of working on good paper was not there in the back of my mind, and it freed me up to play around and experiment with something new. I always work from digital photographs on my computer and never directly from life, let alone out in the field. I hate to sound cliche about it, but the immediacy and spontaneity was such a welcome change from the deliberateness of my usual way of working.
My first watercolor sketch was the most successful, I think because I wasn't trying to have it be anything "good." Know what I mean?
Well, I was so pleased with my first sketch that I wanted to do more, and with cocktail in hand on the back deck of the house, I attempted two more. Emphasis on the word attempt, because the next two were no great shakes. Case in point:
Maybe it's just too hard to capture such beauty on paper! But back to the lessons learned, if any. I've always maintained that less is more with watercolor. Don't lose the white of the paper. Exercise restraint! (Easier said than done, of course.) Don't let it get muddy. Relax.