5" x 7" watercolor and gouache
This painting did not turn out the way I wanted it to. I painted the horse first, which I was pretty happy with, and then painted the background. This my friends, was not a very smart plan.
I often leave the background until the very end, especially when working on a portrait, because I don't want to risk dark colors flooding into the glowing skin tones I've worked so hard to achieve. But, alas, twas not a good idea in this case.
Because I didn't plan how I wanted the background to look. I just kinda thought I would splash some colors in there, make it all fresh and nice looking, and voila! Instant beautiful background!
Yeah. . . didn't work out like that. The wash I laid down was lackluster and just the WRONG color. It looked like a horse from Hades. Seriously, it did.
Which ticked me off because I was so happy with how I painted the horse.
So I thought about what, if anything, I could do to save the painting.
Then I remembered that I had seen watercolor artist Jean Pederson use gouache on some of her backgrounds to give them a chunky oil-type look (which, ahem, she does intentionally, not as a rescue effort).
So I thought to myself, what do I have to lose?
It was a scary thing to put down that opaque gouache and totally obliterate the transparent watercolor background, even as ugly as it was. But I told myself to be brave and just go for it.
And. . . Huzzah! I LOVED the results. The horse is purely watercolor, but the background is mostly gouache that I tinted with some watercolors. I think I'm going to be using this technique again, intentionally this time.
So, even though originally I thought I had failed, really I didn't. I just had to change the way I was looking at it. And that made all the difference. Sometimes when we think we fail, it's really us just not seeing the new opportunity that's opened up. A new chance to push ourselves in a way we wouldn't have otherwise.
"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. " ~ Flavia Weedn
Anybody want to share a failure turned success story? I'd love to hear it. :)
*Special thanks to Sarah Inskip of Dantona Stud, fellow horse enthusiast, artist, and awesome photographer, for letting me use her photo of this gorgeous horse. Thanks Sarah!