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Katie Harmon - Featured Artist March/April 2023

I talk a lot with gallery patrons about the "struggle on the page" those difficult moments where something goes wrong and you are forced as an artist to make a choice. Do you scrap the art piece altogether? Is there a way to incorporate the struggle and make the piece something new (which at times means abandoning your original vision) or is there a creative solution to fix whatever has gone wrong. And sometimes it's all of those things.

In watercolor, this struggle can be very visible. You cannot scrape the paint, or paint over, there are very few ways to remediate when things don't go as expected. Add to that the unpredictability of the medium - some times it just does what it wants - any artist working in watercolor needs to be flexible and display a certain level of ingenuity.

However, those "mistakes" - that "struggle" - is where the magic happens. Not only does this sort of situation create something truly unexpected and unique, something greater than its sum, it also frees me to make bolder choices (because how can it get any worse?) Whereas an art piece that I love how it's shaping up, I will make conservative and safe decisions, a painting that I feel is failing, I will make bold and daring decisions.

In some ways I feel like this shows our humanity in the art piece. Human error is something that makes our art organic, that makes in unique, as does human ingenuity. Embracing the unpredictable moments and organic nature brings some lovely chaos to an otherwise carefully structured piece of art, and can be quite relatable.

So embrace the chaos, and enjoy taking the journey with me through a watercolor painting, flaws, mistakes and all.


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