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White Paper…Hope…Promise…Optimism

Robin Avery


How many of us feel that way when we look at a fresh sheet of pristine watercolor paper? THIS painting will be the ONE that says what I want to say in just the right way!

But as is the case, we know that we have to paint many attempts before we get a painting that connects and aligns in spirit and style.  Like the pianist that practices his scales, our paintings advance our understanding of the medium. Not all my old paintings are smothered in layers of gesso after they have failed to express my preconceived image. I have in fact kept several of my first paintings as a reminder

of the journey I have taken. My very first painting was created with paints in a Prang 8 color metal watercolor tin!

Its good to remember the struggle I had with the brush and paints in that first attempt. Sixteen years later, I still struggle but with a bit more knowledge under my belt. Through workshops and paint-ins, I have acquired a foundation that has helped me create in a personal way.

There have been many influential artists who have made an impact on my art. One of these is Donna Zagotta. She is a shape maker and a risk taker. You may have read some of her articles in Watercolor Magic magazine. She gives a lot of thought before she begins to tackle that pristine paper.  She says, “You must get in touch with your feelings and response to the subject before you begin. Ask yourself what attracted you to the subject in the first place?  What do you want to say about the subject?”

She also says, “The further away from realism a subject moves, the more personal and creative it becomes. The subject is the starting point, not the destination.”

Dan McCaw, a noted artist, says, “Take risks; creativity is born in frustration.”

So when you take out your next fresh white sheet of watercolor paper, remember that all of us face the same challenges as you do. But remember to ENJOY the journey!