I did go through a stage of reading a lot of Steinbeck books many years ago. I particularly recall The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat, however, it’s probably a sign of my advancing years and declining memory that I can’t actually recall many of the details! Should anyone have alighted on this post looking for any sort of literary review, I won’t be at all offended if you decide not to read any further! Grapes of Wrath just seemed like a fitting title for this week’s watercolour blog post!
I was greatly heartened by the response to last week’s post, in which most commenters preferred the paintings that I’d dismissed. I remained convinced however that my Welsh vineyard view had great potential even if I hadn’t quite realised it in my effort:
As longer term followers will be well aware, I’m quite persistent/stubborn/obsessive once I get an idea into my head, so what follows are my (mainly in vain) efforts to improve on this and convince everyone of the merits of this scene! I’m afraid I don’t have the time (or the will to be honest!) to go into great detail about each version but, suffice to say, even though it may not look it, I really did try different approaches with each of these attempts!
With this final image, with which I had a total hissy-fit in the middle of painting it such was my frustration, I feel there’s enough that’s right about it to finally move on to something else. I’m sure that this will be almost as much of a relief to others as it is to me. I must confess that I’ve found the past few weeks of painting a little disheartening.
My spirits were greatly lifted however when my daughter saw me tinkering with my plein-air setup and announced that she wanted to do a painting. So, I set her up with my easel and away she went. Here are a couple of admittedly indulgent shots of my daughter painting but, and I hope you’ll stick with me on this one… there is a point.
Now I know that I’m biased but, I love this painting! Watching her paint and discussing some of the decisions that she was making as she went had me reflecting on my own recent travails. Here are a few takeaways that I’ve made mental notes of:
- Have fun – my daughter had a ball painting this, something that I feel has been missing a little from my own time at the easel
- Paint without fear of consequences – I know that I’m often painting for this blog, or Instagram or a competition or exhibition and that my desire for ‘a result’ can often constrain my approach
- Let the paint do the work – The most exciting parts of this painting are where the paints are mixing on the paper to such wonderful effect
- Know when to stop – this took a little bit of discussion and negotiation but, she did resist the temptation to keep on going – something I’m rarely able to resist!
So, with my own personal ‘grapes of wrath’ finally behind me, and a great lesson in the art of letting go and having fun from my daughter, I’m looking forward to tackling something new for next week!