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Magic Moments

Sometimes when you paint magic is in the air. Your intuition is in harmony with your hand and paint flows creating something inspirational and beautiful that captures the hearts of those who see it. It looks effortless, easy. Ah the falacy!

I just finished a four week course offered by one of my mentors - Angela Fehr - who teaches The Heart-Led Artist Pathway. Instead of focusing on techinque, Angela focuses on allowing art to be intuitive and to express the joy of the experience. Sounds lovely, easy right? Not a chance. Want to know how to paint "intuitively" with watercolour? Start with painting 25 paintings, then 100, then 1000. With that practice and time, and understanding of how watercolour reacts and moves is developed. Skill and style are developed by quiet, non-judgemental observation as you paint, and an awareness of what brings joy as you paint. What reflects who you are and what you want to express. Angela states that it's only then that one can see when a painting has taken a beautiful unexpected turn, and when you've gone horribly wrong. Ask any well know watercolour artist - they'll agree.

Being creative is my idea of heaven. I'm just incredibly fortunate that I can do it in artwork. Watercolor is what I started out with. What I love about watercolor is that a lot of happy accidents occur. Jane Seymour

Happy accidents. Those are magic moments when something unexpected happens that allow you, if you are open to it, to change direction and go with the flow. That ability to allow the watercolour's action produce a creative reaction. That's when intuitition takes over the need to be controling, and for me when joy bubbles up.

Painting Bubbles

Play like a two year old!

I often tell people painting watercolour is like having a two year old, who has a sense of self does what he wants and is upredictable in his actions. You as the parent are constantly trying to keep him with safe boundaries, and failing at trying to maintain a sense of order in his seeming chaos. But there is the other side of it. Look at it from his perspective. He is able walk and continually learning and exploring his environment. "What is this?" or "Look i'm a dinosaur!" His imagination is not stiffled by expectations of what should be, because everything is an adventure.

Sometimes a painting emerges from my play - inspired from experiments in "what if" like this odd little painting created through play. Something magic happens.

When Water Dreams

As adults we begins to compare ourselves to others. Or expect things from watercolour based on our experience with other mediums. Our experiences have taught us control is key, and conformity is expected. We move into new things trying to use the knowledge and skills from other experiences - maybe similiar, maybe not - to predict what will happen and when it doesn't we are frustrated. But what if we played like we were two? What if we looked at each new experience unfettered by any expectation other than "what happens if I do this?" and allowed our imagintion to take to new places?

The spontaneous and fluid look in watercolor painting only occurs when one mixes the colors like a sauce, then paints without looking back! -Joseph Gyurcsak

More often than not my play paintings are "unpalatable" like the mud pies made by a child.

And yet, each has significance. Each has taught me something valuable. And sometimes I get insights about myself and grow as a person.

I have hosted two watercolour paint nights now and have noticed common reactions. There are those notice what is happening and like the process. Their painting may not look like mine, but it was fun and intriguinig, and they have painted something they are happy about. There are those wonder why theirs paint isn't responding they saw mine respond and ask for help, wanting to learn how to fix it. And I encourage them to see the beauty in what they've created and to adapt to the paints actions and to "go with it". I love these paintings because they are often very different than my original, but have a style and beauty to them that is as unique as the painter. They may laugh at their final product, but they have enjoyed the experience. And there are those who, when seeing something they don't like, decide to go back to what they think works and try to force the painting to do what they want it to do.

I spoke to a freind who told me she hated her painting done at one of my events. She realized that she struggled with the need to control the paint and her frustration when things didn't go as she wanted. And while she wasn't happy with her art, she did express that she learned something about herself.

Twenty Five Paintings
You can only master transparent watercolor by disciplined study. Knowledge frees the soul to express its creativity. Ultimately, however, the medium cannot be mastered... only handled masterfully. -Jim Kosvanec

Mike Bailey is a nationally aclaimed painter who teaches how to "Mine our Imagination". He teaches to look at the same still life until it's embedded in the minds eye. Then, to paint it in new and differnent ways, twenty five different ways. His teachings focus on the thinking around design elements: line, form, colour, value, size, direction, texture. As part of my course on heart-led art were encouraged to choose an image, still life or landscape, to use as inspiration for 25 paintings. Could we break out of the basic and find inspiration towards our own style? I only have gotten to 16 to date...not sure yet about if any magical moments have happened. Sometimes only time will tell.

My inspiration image - at the lake

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