Watercolour [detail] © Jean Burman 2016
I was remembering the other day how happy I was when I first started painting in watercolour and how much I had loved Jeanne Dobie’s watercolours. Her simple clarity of shape and use of octanic colour captured my heart completely.
I remember taking her book Making Color Sing to my autocratic art teacher at the time and how crestfallen I had been when she stonewalled me with “that’s all well and good but sometimes you can have too much information”
I looked at her in wide-eyed astonishment [discouraging art teachers… I have known some!] I mean … how could there ever be too much information about something as complex as watercolour?
That’s not to say watercolour should look complex. In fact the best thing about Jeanne’s work was and continues to be the simplicity she effortlessly portrays in her work. To me that’s true mastery. She makes what is not easy look easy and only the best can do that.
My rule of thumb has always been that if you look at a watercolour and say “wow I could do that” it’s a pretty safe bet that this is a painting you could never replicate. Yes you might get all the elements just right but the original magic will almost certainly be missing.
But why would you want to replicate it anyway? What drew you to it was your own inspiration. You just have to find your own style.
You can’t inject that certain je ne sais quoi into watercolour or anything else you decide to do in your life … unless you know what you are trying to do… and can find your own way of doing it. Anything else is copybook or paint by numbers and is probably not worth doing.
You just have to be your own gorgeous self. You’re the only one who can!
Your brand of genius is magnificent. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise [and trust me they WILL try to tell you otherwise]. That’s when you have to be strong in what you know to be true… about you… and what you do.
LEAVE A NOTE [this little painting jumped out of my paintbox yesterday… I imagined her ... so any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental] ;)
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