Why do we paint? Sometimes I think the thing that keeps up working is our inability to create to the level of our imagination. “Maybe this time I’ll get it!”

Each painting I complete has something to teach me – sometimes it is a relative success, and I can share it with you. Other times, it is an utter failure. (See my video post on facebook this evening.)

I think it is important to look at excellent, important work, to keep our standards high, while simultaneously telling ourselves that we are just fooling around. We should go into the creative process hoping for a win, but willing to fail by taking risks. If we take risks, and still fail, we fail better!

” I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.”

Albert Einstein

“Above all, an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done.”

Henri Matisse

I’m so excited to be able to offer another giveaway, courtesy of Hahnemühle. You’ll love working on the Cézanne Watercolor Block. It is 10 sheets of 140lb. Cold Pressed, 100% Rag fiber. You can see photos of the sturdy binding along the edges, with openings on the corners for removing the paper. Some of the reviews I’ve seen in the past recommend removing a sheet to work on, but that defeats the purpose of a block!

No matter how wet you work, you can paint on the paper while it is mounted to the block, and remove the sheet with a palette knife once the work is dry. This helps the paper dry smooth and flat. It also keeps the piece from buckling as you are painting on it.

The paper accepts the paint beautifully. I think the surface is slightly more textured than Arches cold pressed, which I found exciting.

©Ruth Armitage,

©Ruth Armitage, “Red Dirt” Watercolor & Gouache on paper, 9.4×12.6″

If you follow me on facebook, you might have seen me gesso over a failed painting this week. I’m glad, because I learned by trying. I learned what I don’t want for this particular image.It is also important for me to be clear about my intention before I begin – something I knew, but don’t always settle on!

My Most Important Take-Away

Finally, I think it is important to take risks. If a work isn’t quite right, I’d rather ruin it in the process of trying to finish it, than play it safe.

Leave me a comment either here or on facebook! What helps you move beyond ‘safe’ to the ‘thrill of victory’ or the ‘agony of defeat?’

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway! In addition to this beautiful watercolor block, I’m throwing in a sweet little travel palette by Van Gogh. If you win, you’ll be all set for one of my workshops – especially France! There are still a few spaces open and now is the prime time to get a good deal on airfare! Check out all the details here!


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