Watercolor as a Relaxing Routine

36" Antique Coca-Cola Sign

36″ Antique Coca-Cola Sign

Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it.  It is the fence over which neighbors lean when they talk.  . . . Our health requires that we should recline on it from time to time.  When we are in it, the hand stands still on the face of the clock, and we grow like corn in the genial dankness and silence of the night.  

Henry David Thoreau, Journal.  January 23, 1841

When I drove away from the Eureka Springs School of the Arts last Friday, I felt so much good will from a class that performed above and beyond expectations.  I also felt satisfied in completing several demonstration watercolor sketches.  I thought that I would be O.K. with extended road time and the possibility of not picking up the watercolor brush for days.  But as Sunday dawned, I already felt a sense of listlessness with the broken routine, and decided to get back into something.  I acquired this magnificent 36″ antique Coca-Cola sign a few weeks back, just before I hit the road to do back-to-back workshops.  I never forgot about the sign, and thought it seemed silly to transport it in the back of my Jeep with all the rest of my watercolor gear and suitcase.  But the sign has been on my mind, and I thought that today I would try a few rough sketches of it.  I pulled out my “Fluid” watercolor block, hoping that that would signal a loose sketch and not a finished painting.  What is wrong with me?  Why can I not just cut loose?  Oh, I worked fast on this indeed, but, as you can see, it’s not loose.  It’s just as tight as though I were working on a full sheet of 300-lb. watercolor paper.  It is only 10 x 8″ but I worked as tightly and accurately as I could, though I worked fast indeed.  This is what I accomplished over the course of a few hours today, and I loved every minute, every second of the experience.

The sign has some corrosion, and plenty of abuse from a shotgun blast that I still haven’t really put into the composition yet.  And I’m still trying to solve the problem of an evergreen backdrop, spending plenty of time perusing Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies of evergreens.  I am so glad to have this sign in my actual presence, rather than trying to work from a photograph.  The relic is magnificent to behold.

Thanks for reading.  It’s nice to be back into the watercolor routine after only a two-day hiatus.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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3 Responses to “Watercolor as a Relaxing Routine”

  1. karmami Says:

    You are not alone. There are pleny of us who feel this way often and I for one are one of them …blessings


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