The sketchy and inconsistent blog of Bethie Engstrom...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

not too much free time lately.

Recently, one of my favorite things to do with my free time,  while out of the house,  is to go study at the local library.
Study wise it changes every time I go,  but the library?  It stays the same.

The smell (have to start with that) of book pages,  new and old, wood and printer ink.  The sound of the book cart making it's runs to the many shelves and it's constant squeaky wheel. Books you can buy go a quarter, endless supplies of knowledge at your fingers, and even more if you're willing to search all the other branches of building stocked  with books your town.
 The older gentleman sighing after every second turning off his book, the line of computers with people sitting in front of (almost always playing some internet game -which did annoy me in the past,  but now,  I see it as "more-time- with- books- and- no- bumping- into- people- in- aisles-for- me!!!!  ;), clicking away...
The availability of taking a book down, scanning through it and jotting down little jewels of wisdom and wittiness that you want to remember forever -  and sighing (with an uncanny harmony to the man behind you) when your arms are trembling with the weight of all those words,  and you begin a list of all the books you'll be checking out next time.
Flyers for clubs and guilds you can join, large, stuffed animals in the children's section (admit it, you've cuddled up with them too when no one's around), big- open windows and covers of books that you stand in front of in awe.

The little jem I found today is related to all watercolorists around. I read it and immediately felt at ease.  Here it is for anyone else out there that has felt the same way as myself,  thinking that what I do and want to do in my watercolors,  isn't allowed and every time frowned upon. Here it is:

"For some reason,  watercolour has attracted a more comprehensive -and often inexplicable-  list of dos and don'ts then any other medium.  People feel that there is a "correct" way of working and that any departure from this constitutes a kind of unfaithfulness to the medium.  For example, we are told that we must never use opaque white because it will spoil the lovely translucence of the colours; while good painting aids such as masking fluid are described as "mechanical" and therefore in some way immoral.  Eyebrows are raised if you try anything new -it is simply not done. Interesting, all the theories of correct procedure have only sprung up in this century, while the more rigid rules surrounding oil painting were the product of 18th- and 19th-century academic tradition and have since been largely abandoned.  The best 19th-century watercolours, particularly those by (J.M. W.) Turner, reveal am enormous variety in the methods used, as well as many practices which might be frowned upon today.  Turner used opaque paint, he moved the paint around on the picture surface and allowed colours  to run;  he smudged paint with his fingers and even scratched into it in places. In short, he used the medium as the servant of his ideas rather than the other way around." 
-Hazel Harrison ("Watercolor, Oil & Acrylic")

That said, I am still very much afraid to pick up opaque paints, but I feel very energized by reading this for who- knows- how- many- times,  and this new chapter has begun. The chapter where I am no longer afraid of my own brush, the Purest of watercolorists and am now ready to go out once again and paint and paint and paint.

Lovely words from books make my day.

Au revoir!

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