Art of Rain

Simplicity is not a simple thing. ― Charles Chaplin

I have always wanted to paint with rain. A cloistered spring break at my cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with rain in the forecast, provided the opportunity.

All I had to do is create the stage and let nature do the rest. I love to think of this as a collaboration with something I can’t control. Which really sums up the medium of watercolor. It is a medium that often controls you. If you work in this medium, you have to accept the unacceptable!

In the past I have painted in drizzle and have loved the added texture which can be unpredictable. The last time I was on my school’s campus, before we were relegated to distance teaching, I painted the scene from my recess duty view. There was a light drizzle that specked the wash which really became an added memory of the time and place. This sketch was posted in my “Distance Learning” post.

This time I wanted to work with purpose. This meant that the process was not just left to pure happenstance. I had to plan and be prepared to capture spontaneity. Pure oxymoronic painting.

With the first few sprinkles hitting the deck, I used drafting tape to create a border on a Fluid 8 x 8 inch, 140 lb watercolor block. I laid in a thick wash of indigo. I walked out to the deck and exposed the still-wet-wash to the elements. Now the wet elements do her magic.

Setting the stage: a wash of indigo framed in with drafting tape. I held the paper to the skies and let the rain do the work.

When I look at this simple painting I’m amazed at its brilliance. And I say that without any ego because I had very little to do with the creation of this piece of art. And for me that’s why it is amazing and transcendent because it deals with the force that is beyond my control yet creates something absolutely sublime.

The painting grew into it’s finished state as the paint slowly dried. And the finished painting is something I could have never envisioned. It surprised and delighted me!

This experience has taught me that sometimes you just need to get out of the way! Let nature do the work, like she always does.

And to my artist friends out there. Go and make your own expressions and let Mother Nature be your guide! She is a great teacher!

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