Creative Freedom Comes With Permission

Find this painting and others at ETSY

I’ve given myself permission over the last few years to “try anything” creatively.  I remember painting with rules, all kinds of rules.  One particular watercolor rule – don’t use white – seemed to make sense.  Applying an opaque white to a watercolor painting does change it from a “transparent” medium to a transparent/opaque medium and sometimes the piece is not as good as it could have been.  But what I have discovered is this… what if you’re working on this painting and it’s going well and then… you screw something up.  What do you do?  Toss it into the trash?  Burn it in the fire pit?  OR maybe just maybe do you crack out your Gouache, acrylics or watercolor white?

For a long time I considered myself a failure if I needed to resort to using white in one of my watercolor paintings.  I wanted to be a “purest,” producing glowing and transparent watercolor paintings and all that is nice but then one day I ventured out to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.  There was a Homer exhibition on display at the time.  It was a great and inspiring show and when I looked closely, really closely at one of his watercolor paintings I noticed… white.  Some kind of white paint had been applied!  That moment was freeing!  Totally freeing!  and since then my new “rule” is if Homer can use white who the heck do I think I am to forbid myself from using white.

These days anything goes.  Whatever technique, tools or supplies are needed to get a successful piece are on the table.  Sometimes that exploration can bring you to a new level with your work and those great discoveries are with you onto the next painting.

So, these days I give myself permission to try anything with freedom and abandon.