"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Watercolor cards, why as the year ends?--II

"A New Year's Journey," 5 x 7 watercolor card
Why the watercolor Christmas cards? I found an old one dated 2009 the other day, sifting through my slush pile.
I'm not sure I know, after all these years. They started out simply, going to family, and a few friends. I think they were then, and they certainly are now, journeys of  discovery, both in painting, and personally. 
They're also a challenge. The "list" has grown over the years, though it has shrunk below 100 since retirement, and trying to make each card original, trying not to get stuck in a rut, trying not to be too uptight in painting, trying to...
I learn from painting these, about myself and painting. On larger work I'm too detailed, too picky. These 5 x 7s demand minimal detail, more impression, more quick brush strokes, more reliance on the viewers' imaginations.
I considered not doing them this year, because I felt stuck in a rut, that perhaps I was painting out of obligation, rather than want to.
But then.
Some people expect them, even ask for them. Some actually frame them. And not doing them would diminish me.
"They're a gift," said my wife Susan, when I was thinking about starting them back in October. 
It took me a little to realize that they are a gift, primarily to me. They give me joy knowing that people enjoy them, look forward to them.
They push me to push myself. They push me to be creative, to be original, though they carry some common themes and images. Have you noticed the gates? The streams and bridges?I didn't even realize that until they kept cropping up. they're easy, but they're also metaphors of my life, for life.
By posting them on this blog, they also keep me challenged to think and write something meaningful, even stream-of-consciousness, about the images.
Every good painting tells a story, or stories. And what I've learned over the past few years as an artist, is that every painting has a story behind it, or more than one.
I guess that's the story, the answer behind the why to the watercolor cards.
Four of this years' cards

1 comment:

  1. We treasure the cards you send us. They are the only cards we keep. Thank you for them.


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