This week I painted my final version of William Bajzek’s hands playing flute. I think I’ve painted about 12 versions of this; I’m happiest with this last version, although I also like the earlier version I posted in February.
I’m calling it Trim the Velvet, one of my favorite Irish tunes. It’s a tune that falls beautifully on the flute, and one that William plays really well. You can hear sound samples of William playing Irish music with his wife, Angeline, in their duo called Castlerock. Unfortunately, they haven’t any sound samples of Trim the Velvet on their website. They should.
12 versions of the same painting. That’s a pretty compulsive thing to do. But I made about every mistake a person can make in those 12 paintings. Sometimes I made pretty awful color decisions (and sometimes no decisions at all). I struggled to create soft edges. I roared into the painting and impatiently splashed dark values onto the paper too soon. I didn’t pay attention to the paint.
These are the things I learned: Painting a watercolor is a lot like starting a relationship. It’s best to be delicate in the beginning, leaving room for the big decisions that you’ll have to make later on. Plan well. Make clear choices. Use a light touch. Be happy with what the painting wants to be.