I took a second attempt at painting a white lotus flower in watercolor for today's study. It was placed lower on the page than my other lotus flowers, and it came out very delicate. I used a mixture of the leftover purple paint on my palette from yesterday along with Winsor Newton Paynes Grey and Permanent Rose for the flower petals.
I painted quite a few delicate watercolors when I first started painting in classes. Most of my teachers pushed me to get bold, vibrant, in-your-face colors in my paintings, not delicate colors and paintings filled with neutrals. As I persisted in not producing bold, loud paintings, my fellow students would get visibly upset and vocally confront me in a desperate attempt to stop the assault on their senses that my painting was causing them. I was once told, "You're the only one that can make a dirty green or a grey feel like a pop of color in a painting." I responded with just a shrug of my shoulders, rarely anything more.
I turned to acrylic painting in an attempt to adopt a bold palette of modern colors to try and adopt this approach to painting. I was producing very loud and bright art at first. But then, over time, I learned to mix colors. I began to limit my color choices, and my paintings went back to subtle shifts of neutral colors with a delicacy to them. You can change mediums, just like you can change jobs/houses/environments in life, but you still show up as yourself no matter where you go.
Once I stopped aiming to execute the perfect painting in one masterful stroke, I began to create paintings that I enjoyed. The more I limited my colors, and the more comfortable I was with embracing the delicate approach, the better my paintings became in acrylic and watercolor.
Painting delicate watercolor paintings has taught me that the inherent strength in the soft, delicate approach. I can't think of anything that's common and ordinary that's considered to be a delicacy. Delicate people, things, and situations are rare because they are easily broken and destroyed, and their beauty is gone forever. You must approach them with restraint, slowing down to really see them. You must consider the impact of your next move as if it you were in a chess game. Responding with a show of strength and a heavy hand will destroy it. Instead, you must respond with sensitivity, grace, and a certain finesse.
Delicate paintings can be intimidating, challenging and confronting. I feel we need them just as much as we need the bold, showy, attention-grabbing paintings. They remind us of the often overlooked beauty in life and challenge us to become better versions of who we are.