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Day 17 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2019 : Epic Fail!

June 17, 2019

Any painting marathon is not complete without a public failure.

I really don’t know what I was thinking when I made this. What convinced me to try this image?

It’s absolutely wrong for this series. Completely missing the point of the other pieces. Completely lacking the long views to the horizon that draw you in. Completely the wrong color palette.

This wall of foliage might have some interesting shapes – but it does not compose into a view. It is not a landscape.

If a good landscape can transport you to a place – this composition is bouncing me off. Pushing me out of the picture plane.

So – despite the nice touches of brushwork here and there – this is a failed piece. It’s simply not what I’m looking for in this series.

I figure – if you’re going to fail – fail big! And this is an Epic Fail.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. Timelesslady permalink
    June 17, 2019 10:11 AM

    It might not fit into a series, but it has some beautiful, and even mystical elements. You achieved a mistiness that will be hard to duplicate when you want to paint the same effect again. It’s lovely really…I feel like I am reaching out my arm to push some foliage aside as I venture into a rain forest. Save it, add a surprise that is hidden, a pair of eyes, some birds…I really like it.

    • June 19, 2019 8:43 AM

      Hello, Timeless! Yes, that is indeed what is good about it. The sense of being enclosed by the greenery. Like you’re actually there pushing into the forest. I do love that – but – as I said to Joy down below – we’re in the middle of a marathon here and It feels like I took time out of the race to do some gardening :) Maybe I’ll get back to this topic later. Put a pin in this one! But for now – it’s like getting off-course :P Take care ~m

  2. Cynthia permalink
    June 17, 2019 10:13 AM

    It may have missed the prime objectives…listed in your post, BUT it’s gorgeous! Very John Singer Sargent, imho.

    • June 19, 2019 8:44 AM

      Thanks Cynthia! I think JSS might tsk at my lack of clarity here, but I would love to be even a student of his :) How nice of you to say!

  3. PennyH permalink
    June 17, 2019 10:20 AM

    It might not be what you are going for this year, as a series…. but this is my favorite piece from you this year, so far. I love the variety of foliage and distinctness of it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get that much depth and variety in the foliage so I can do better landscapes and natural scenes. It did transport me. You think of it as an epic fail. I think of it as something to strive for.

    • June 19, 2019 8:47 AM

      Thanks Penny! You can do it – it’s all just drawing with the brush :) and a few mantras > “More Paint, less water”! “Lighter to Darker”! “Larger to Smaller”! It’s funny how after all these years that is all there is to watercolor :) It’s like the game of Go. So simple, but complex in its application :)

  4. June 17, 2019 10:33 AM

    Well, I like it a lot! Might not match the others in your series but has a gorgeous, lush feeling which looks exactly like my steamy Floridian backyard right now.

  5. June 17, 2019 10:55 AM

    I guess you’ve never been lost in the woods on a foggy, gray day on Whidbey Island. I like it!

  6. June 17, 2019 11:00 AM

    This has a tremendous effect of different textures (leaf surfaces) and lights and darks.

  7. gsutter permalink
    June 17, 2019 11:00 AM

    Can’t begin to say how much I love your art and your commentary! I especially appreciated you comment on the 15th, that the reward doesn’t come in the middle of the race. By sharing your experience, and now what you consider a failure, you’re taking us along on a journey to a broader awareness and appreciation of the non-linear path that is art and life. I’m with you to day 30 … and beyond!

  8. June 17, 2019 11:22 AM

    I disagree. The first photo is absolutely a landscape – albeit one with plants. It had depth. It reminded me of places I’ve been. It had a story. And it captured shapes without the shapes being labored. The remainders, “eh”.

  9. June 17, 2019 11:43 AM

    Totally LOVE this! Very refreshing!

  10. June 17, 2019 11:45 AM

    Totally LOVE this!

  11. joyjoy888 permalink
    June 17, 2019 11:46 AM

    I disagree with your comments! I like it a lot and I think it has great depth i this leafy wood landscape! Maybe different subject to the other 16 but that’s ok isn’t it?

    • June 19, 2019 8:41 AM

      Hey Joy! It’s true, in the long run it’s probably ok – but in the short run, during this project, I feel it’s important to edit ruthlessly. Stay on target! My goal is to have – at the end of the 30 days – a complete, self-contained series, that can be looked at as an entire body of work. Why? Good question! I just feel that’s the right way to produce a gallery show, or a little monograph – (which is what I’m doing with these). It’s like writing a book. (or in this case a short story) – you might have a pretty little scene between the characters – but if it doesn’t advance the plot of *this story* it has to go :) Maybe next time I can come back and revisit the jungle :) I would like to do an entire project on this sort of imagined tropical forest. So yes – it’s an example of ‘losing focus’ on your current goal. I don’t know why I stopped to make it now! It’s like taking time out of a race to do some gardening :) Thanks Joy and everyone for all the comments! This has been a popular topic!

  12. Marcia Milner-Brage permalink
    June 17, 2019 12:24 PM

    It evokes a dreamscape. Also, it is reminiscent of being in a rainforest, where the foliage almost engulfs you. I like it.

  13. June 17, 2019 1:10 PM

    😀! I really love your ‘epic fail’ comments because fail is in the eye of the boholder. Yes, it’s not what you were after. But it inspired me in a brand new direction. Ya never know. Thanks!

  14. mlaiuppa permalink
    June 17, 2019 1:16 PM

    You might think it’s an epic fail but so far it is my favorite one.

  15. Jacqui isensee permalink
    June 17, 2019 1:54 PM

    I absolutely love that bottom one. I’m all inspired by your first pre-ones, the black and white ones. I won’t be in the group along with you but want to do a few. Love your loose ones. Jacqui

  16. June 17, 2019 3:36 PM

    I completely disagree, the path of light leads me in through the trees. There is an element of mystery, I love this one!

  17. Lisa Cihlar permalink
    June 17, 2019 4:09 PM

    This is my favorite so far. Lol! Maybe it’s just the palette. I like greens. The paler path of light makes me want to follow.

  18. Serge permalink
    June 17, 2019 4:43 PM

    My first instant thought was: “Oh, finally a great painting after all the previous ones this June!”. Yes, seriously! :)

  19. June 17, 2019 4:57 PM

    I don’t see this as a a fail.
    Your colors are beautiful and true to the landscape at hand!

  20. Dian Burhoe permalink
    June 17, 2019 6:40 PM

    I really like this piece! It’s what you don’t like that I like. It has mystery……

  21. Yvonne Wagner permalink
    June 17, 2019 7:38 PM


    I don’t know if the pic will transfer, but cropping will fix this beautiful watercolor.

  22. chris permalink
    June 17, 2019 8:14 PM

    Marc, I like it a lot- it draws me in, because I love nature, I love being in the woods, a secluded glade or meadow, whats in there? why is the sun hitting just that spot? I want to know! I want to go in there….. i do think its a success, it may not meet your definition of a landscape but, definitely not a failure….. thanks for your inspiration!

  23. Barbara permalink
    June 17, 2019 8:51 PM

    My favorite so far! I can see where it goes in a different direction from the rest, but I want to peer through the foliage and get to that light spot. Very evocative….maybe the first in a new series?

  24. June 17, 2019 11:09 PM

    Not a fail to me. i’m like Chris above. Love forests.

  25. Mel permalink
    June 18, 2019 12:46 AM

    Actually, this is Epic Brilliance. More, please?

  26. June 18, 2019 5:26 AM

    I have to agree with all the others who say this is not a fail. I really feel drawn into this picture.

  27. Ellie permalink
    June 18, 2019 1:36 PM

    I have to say ditto to those comments saying it’s their favorite so far. Your modesty is appreciated, but again–we all learn from your work and your writings, so thanks!!!

  28. June 18, 2019 4:09 PM

    Forgive me, but I don’t know what you are driving at during this painting period. You are a master at color, but your work here, with one exception, is dark and gloomy. One continuous bad day in the environment. Congrats if that is what you were going for, but it appears you have mastered it. When it happens, I look forward to your next steps.

  29. Priscella permalink
    June 19, 2019 8:58 AM

    I think it is lovely. It absolutely transported me to some wonderful memories of walking through the forest, somewhere not so familiar, forest engulfed all around you as you you push to the side branches and leaves, to finally be met with a warm kiss from rays above as the clearing in the canopy invites and welcomes you.

  30. June 19, 2019 9:55 AM

    I don’t agree. The first thing I thought when I viewed this piece was— wow I wish I could create a feeling of foliage like that- like a portal into a magic place of green ina secret garden or wood. Beautiful— even if it wasn’t what you felt to be a success.

  31. Kent St permalink
    June 19, 2019 2:06 PM

    It sounds like it didn’t turn out as expected. So you must christen it: “Life”.
    I, like most others here, quite enjoy your failures. So I guess you might consider it redeemed! I have not found it within myself to put brush to paper to even create one failure this month, so I am a bit envious! Which reminds me of some great words:

    ““You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. Failure is a teacher – a harsh one, perhaps, but the best. You say you have a desk full of rejected manuscripts? That’s great! Every one of those manuscripts was rejected for a reason. Have you pulled them to pieces looking for that reason? You’ve got to put failure to work for you. That’s where you’ll find success. On the far side of failure.” ― Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder

    Thank you for this failure!

  32. Estelle DeRidde permalink
    June 20, 2019 10:14 AM

    Of course, as always, YOU and YOUR intentions come first. But you have to consider what your audience sees. Without reading either the headline or your comments, the first thing that jumped into my mind was – Out of the Dark (Into the Light) (1998) is the eighth album by Falco.- So-o-o-ooo many people have spun off that title; and I think this piece has the possibility to generate A LOT of energy in that genre in addition to standing on its own as a pleasant watercolor painting.

  33. debra l piecora permalink
    June 21, 2019 6:44 PM

    Its funny what we call a fail and how someone else sees our work. I loved this piece and actually saved it for future reference. So thank you. So there!

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