I know, know, I already posted “Gaia Watches the Moon Pull Her Fertile Belly,” but I have more to say about her, because she’s been driving me crazy. This is all about process.
Gaia + Moon + Sun came to me at 3am just before the full moon. I was sketching, unable to sleep, a common time for me to be awake. I drew this little sketch, right, and thought they were all wonderful. I love the raw sketches!
Then I did the watercolor below, and liked it, but saw room for improvement in the difference between what I had in my mind and what I painted. Watercolors are still new to me, remember? I have visions and can’t execute them — which is hard for someone who is good with another medium. Her nipples inadvertently slipped from her breasts, melting like a cake in the rain. Were it acrylic, I’d just go in and “fix” it. But I am learning that this is hard to do with watercolors. You can end up with a mess, removing when you try to add, a blob of paint, ARGH.
The next version I liked even less, below, though as the days pass, I like her better. Molten lava hair and her face bothers me, but I love the mossy look of her, and that her nipples are not melting or sliding off her breasts!
Still not happy, I tried painting the whole image again, right. (I was never going to show this image.) This was bigger, though I reversed the sun and moon, so Gaia was talking to the moon, not the sun (for LUNAR Moondae!) Worse. now the hair is like hardened lava, rigid, not what I wanted. She looks uncomfortable, and finally, she has FLIPPERS! I added the faces on the sun and moon because I saw where it was going . . . cute? They are all having a chat!
Why do I think they look worse with each try? I’m not a negative artist, and often like my work – that “just right” feeling.
The sketch and the first image feel free and unselfconscious, loose and fresh. The others try too hard, and have a feeling of stiltedness. Happens with overworking. Can you see that?
Several days later I tried again, bottom. I put the sun where it was in the original sketch, and in doing so found a bit of my mojo. Her hair is more varied, she doesn’t look sleepy or bored (maybe a bit surprised?), and the sun and moon look pretty good.
And I STILL like the first one best!
Moral to THIS story, I think, is that watercolors are a zen thang, and I need to just loosen up and let it flow. If I don’t like it, just move on, no redos. Very hard for an old acrylics person like me . . .