Friday, June 11, 2010


Imagine a world where we determine whether something is doable by our experience of it alone.

If no one repeated the idea that parallel parking is difficult, I think fewer people would be stressed about that part of the test.
If no one said, "This is the hardest part and if you manage to master it, you'll be able to master anything," would we be so terrified of trying? And our attempt would probably be a lot better if we didn't have that pressure, that weight of 'this is really difficult' hanging over us.

If no one told me that painting water was difficult, would I have avoided it so intently until now?

As with anything, it takes practice, observation, an eye for shape and shadow. Experimentation is required. But most importantly, I have turn off that little voice in my head that says this is one of the hardest things to paint.

So I turned it off and amazingly enough I've discovered the same things about painting water as I did about parallel parking:

It's not difficult.

It's not hard.

It's not impossible by any means.

It's a challenge, certainly, but not something that doesn't make sense once you give it a go. I can see the folds in the liquid and the play of light and shadow from above and below. I get the depths of colour, the reflection, the pallet. I can see it all and I can see it more clearly than I ever did before. We all know water is not merely blue. But it's not just shiny and shimmering either. It goes flat in places and it curls deliciously in others. But most importantly, it can be captured on canvas. It can be captured with a pencil in the pages of a journal. It can be expressed with a wash of gouache. And, I'm pleased to say, it can be done with acrylic.

If no one told us something was hard to do, would we even know it?

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