Back in 2010, I had one of my little spurts of creativity and produced a pencil drawing of The Swan II that I was particularly proud of. You know the kind. The kind that you stand back from and look around the room, hoping someone will come by and tell you how awesome you are. And when no one comes by, you say it to yourself. Here was that drawing:
Now, granted, you have to take that with a grain of salt. She’s not the Mona Lisa. She’s maybe not even Lisa Lisa (1980s represent, yo!). But there are times when you’re really happy with a piece — not because of its intrinsic merit — but because it came close to what you were trying to achieve. And that’s always one step closer to the artist you hope to be. Ask this guy –>
“I never achieved what I set out to do as fully as it filled my mind.” Leonardo DaVinci
So I did a drawing that I liked. Not the first time that’s happened, but I really wanted to paint her in watercolor. My worry was that I was going to ruin the drawing I liked so much by my poor-to-mediocre ability with the medium. So I did what any cowardly lion would do — I lightboxed* the drawing and painted the copy. I was… less than pleased with the result. That’s her on the left.
Fast forward two years and all the reading I had done on watercolor was ready to pay off. And notice I said “reading,” not “practicing.” I hadn’t touched watercolors for the two years in between. I had developed a mental understanding of the process and it was enough to take my skills to another level. (I don’t recommend this as a methodology, of course. Practice makes perfect.) But there we were. My biggest hurdle had always been washes. Some people take to them rather naturally. I was not one of those people.
In the end, I added the logo digitally in Photoshop, but the rest was all me. (Technically the logo was me, too, but I’m being picky.) I’m much happier with the newer painting, and she looks back at me likes she likes it, too.
What do you think?*lightboxing is when you put your drawing on a light table or somehow illuminate it from beneath and trace the original image onto a new page that sits above it