Watercolor Expressions: Going with playful energy

Mexico Energy, 6×8 watercolor (hotpress)

Not uncommonly, my perception of a painting changes depending on my proximity to it, not just the viewing distance, but with the passage of time. Sometimes I love a painting more the longer I look at it, sometimes less. Enduring appreciation of a painting might be one definition of merit, I suppose.

And then there is this painting, which I love best in the first moments of looking at it, when the palpable energy shouts to be heard over my notice of the imperfections. This isn’t my favorite painting for a lot of reasons and may not be yours either. But it evokes an approximation of how I felt when I made it.

Mexico is such a colorful country, a place where the warmth of the people matches the strength of the sun. There is evident hustle and work, but also an abundance of playfulness. And not just when the tequila is flowing.

Yes, there a dark places – crime, drugs, and corruption. But I’d venture to guess our impressions of those cultural elements are largely overblown.

I remember watching this painting evolve while hearing the sounds of the ocean. And, as is true with many paintings, a creative backstory is hidden in the final image. This one could be a tale of alternating ground and sky, of keeping perceptions fluid, of going with the playful energy.

Many thanks, Mexico.


4 thoughts on “Watercolor Expressions: Going with playful energy

  1. Yes! Unmistakably gorgeous. As always, I appreciate your nuanced articulation of your feelings and thought processes around the act of creating. It’s a real help to see that mirrored in another person. I’ve struggled with the idea you touch on here and elsewhere about “perfection” in an image, or the idea of an image as having flaws. I can’t say I’ve solved that or even that I think it can be solved completely, but for me I find satisfaction and release from perfectionism by doing what you describe here–kind of tuning in to that feeling of knowing that an image is just right somehow. Sometimes tuning into specific parts of an image that really “work” is part of that–like in this image the crispness and depth in horizon line and the dancing movement of the water feel really magical. While that kind of focus feels productive to me, what doesn’t so much is if I start identifying elements that I don’t like and focus on those in an effort to figure out how I could “fix” them. I think I could keep talking about this but it is getting long so probably should close this out for now 🙂 Thanks again for sharing!


    • Thank you so much Todd! I always appreciate your thoughtful comments, the ways you add layers of meaning, the resonance of your experience. There is some value in looking at specific parts of an image that don’t “work” as a learning tool, I think. But equally, if not more important to step back and consider the whole. Often the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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