Leaf of the Day: Small Fruit from Leu Gardens

I did work really hard today, and what I forgot to do yesterday was scan an early stage of this piece which is a shame because it is interesting for me to see at what point I could have stopped and it would have been an acceptable, but fairly loose watercolour. Then there is the transition stage where it all looks so horrible, at this stage it is neither fish, flesh nor fowl. Hope begins to fade but you just have to plod on through. Then there is (hopefully) the last stage where you begin to see some sharper details. At this stage I am not sure if I like it or hate it. I can only see the mistakes and problems.
Finally, there is the impossible “when to stop” question. Without a real live tutor (one whose advice you respect) it is impossible to tell. The dreaded step by step books are 100% unhelpful and also it’s very often personal taste. I stop because I am fed up or don’t know what else to do….or just run out of time. This time it’s a bit of all three.
One huge pitfall for the watercolourist is the almost uncontrollable desire to “improve” this or that part. I have the ability to turn something passable into a complete dog’s breakfast in just two strokes of a brush or one unconsidered wash. Sometimes I wish someone would just come and prise the brush out of my hand and say “Enough!”. The very best advice is to put the wretched thing away, out of sight, lock it in a cupboard and give someone else the key, for at least a week.

So is it finished? As usual, I don’t know, but I am finished with it. Do I like it? Well it’s very traditional for me but this is a very traditional course. Time enough for strange and wonderful compositions and experiments when I have learnt the basics. Whatever the outcome I will always be fond of it because these little fruit are from the Gardens where I have spent my happiest days this year .. so good luck on your transatlantic journey, my “Small Fruit from Leu Gardens”.


Small Fruit from Leu Gardens

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  1. val-
    I love how the satsuma peeling looks the tiniest bit like it’s starting to dry out around the edges…like just a suggestion of a memento mori. Beautiful work, as usual

  2. I had a look at the course you are doing and I amreally interested. However I have only worked in pastels or pencil before but I think I might explore doing some watercolour classes to see how I get on and then if I enjoy it I might see if I can get on this course.

  3. E, thankyou so much.. and yes the peel was definitely drying out!.. there have been some very beautiful fine art pieces made with various peels and slices ..and they do all have that sense of passing time and fragility of life about them I must see if I can recall some.

    Patient gardener.. do drop me an email re the course..

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