Sunflowers in a Storm

Years ago when I started painting in Watercolours, my heart used to race when I was applying a background wash. I needed to make sure the water/paint solution would flow on smoothly so that it would dry with a velvety finish, and not end up mottled or blemished which would be a complete disaster, resulting in my having to start again on a new (and expensive) sheet of pristine white paper. No wonder people used to say that Watercolour was too difficult and it required a huge amount of skill. Well, maybe so. But thinking back to that time, I find it hard to believe that I have completely reversed my attitude towards the medium, and now delight in the special effects and "mistakes" that those backruns can make in a wash. I revel in the fact that I can now break the rules and unleash my raw passion.

I remember my first Sunflower painting (a theme which was soon to become my hallmark). It was done during those difficult years when both my children were under the age of three. I was horribly sleep deprived but knew I had to do something to bring my heart and soul back to life. My painting things had been stored in the shed to keep them out of harms way, and I had no particular painting area as our house was quite small. So one day, I grabbed a painting board and some paints, and setting myself up on the kitchen counter, started the first painting where I broke all those rules. I lay down broken and multi-layered washes, and added and lifted off areas of paint paying no attention to the drying time of each area. My brush just flew at the paper, and I made splashes and backruns to my hearts content. I discovered the versatility of Bockingford paper. It seems to have an extra sheen, or layer of size which aids in re-working areas of paint whether wet or dry. For the first time I really felt that I was working with confidence. It was truly a liberating experience.