Kauai- Looking at a Vacation's Worth of Paintings

I took this picture of the wall before we left Kauai.  On one level, I was rather pleased- 22 paintings in 28 days!  Not bad, production wise- way more than I can typically do in a month,  with work, taking Tasha to school, etc.  I've only been back 3 days, and it's already gotten harder to work painting into my schedule.  But still- I made an effort to paint daily while away, and I pretty much stuck to it.

I was also struck by how differently paintings look, viewed from farther away.  There are a variety of paintings on the wall that, when viewed as a 1" x 1" square in a tiny picture on my computer screen, look ok, but when I approach them all sorts of technical failings become clear.  Alternately, some of the more vigorous and playful colorwork that I like up close, where I can see the various hues clearly shift and ebb, doesn't play as well from far away, where value becomes more critical.

But the more I stared at all the various paintings from 20' away, what really struck me the most was how it represented a "project's" work, and the varied quality of it, in a sort of capsule.  When I start a new series of semi-related subjects, my production often goes through a sort of ebb and flow of quality, as I first try out the new subjects, then experiment with how I want to paint them better, and then try to produce more refined work given the tested approach. 

With this batch, there were a few stinkers, perhaps 2 or 3, that I just threw away or immediately turned over and painted on the other side.  You don’t actually see those on the wall.  ;PThere were probably 4 or 5 that I consider failed sketches.  They’re not terrible, but they didn’t have any magic.  So, that’s perhaps 6-8 that were on the lower end, in total.

On the flip side, I had perhaps 2-3 paintings that I thought I really hit it out of the park on.  Even I was pleased enough with them!  Ha!  Then there were perhaps 4-5 that I thought were pretty good, but not good enough yet.  These are the ones I’ll probably repaint/ change/ explore now that I'm back home.  So, comparing the plus side to the failures, it was about an equal amount- about 6-8 good ones.

In the middle were the other 1/3.  Paintings that weren’t failed, per se, but are the ones I probably won’t redraft.  Sometimes, I don’t care for the composition, and don’t see how I can improve it.  Other times, I can tell something isn’t working, but I’m not sure how to fix it- either it’s a limitation of watercolors, or my skill set, or my temperament.  Sometimes, they were just fun to paint, are a record of a moment in time, and that’s enough for me.

Not everything is stellar.  Of course, on more public places like Facebook, I share only the ones I think are the best ones.  LOL!  But truthfully, sometimes, making an average painting is part of the work of getting to the good ones.  That's why the wall is so interesting to me- I know the wall represents the work as a whole.  It tells the whole story.  The good paintings often grow from the bad ones.  It's where we stretch our muscles and learn.