Learning from Mistakes

Here’s a lesson for life. And for watercolour painting. To avoid mistakes, simply do nothing. Taking risks isn’t enough. You have to make mistakes. Of course, if we’re talking bomb disposal or sky diving, there had better be a safe environment! Here I am, deliberately ‘having a go’, with no other intention than to examine the mistakes and learn from them. 

To help me make a permanent mental note, I go to the trouble of making actual notes. Here they are:

Comparing my results with the objective, I’m examining the effect of adding my colour heavily, thinly, or almost ‘dry-brush’, over paper that is dry, damp, or wet. The paper might be wet with plain water, or with fresh paint. Indeed I might be adding either colour or plain water to a wet or dry page. 

Patience and effort are not enough, I need to learn when and why time is needed. Maybe time to get the structure and perspective and composition right, before beginning to paint. Maybe time to stop and plan the sequence of application. Maybe time to go for coffee while the wet page becomes dry, in its own time. 

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