“The Birth of Venus”

“The Birth of Venus”, by Robert Leedy, completion date foggy, watercolor on plastic palette, whereabouts unknown
“The Birth of Venus”,
by Robert Leedy,
completion date foggy,
watercolor on plastic palette,
whereabouts unknown

Every now and then while I’m painting watercolors, I’ll look down and get inspired by what I see in the well of my palette. Sometimes there are some amazing things going on – such as the image above. Perhaps some people will think, “WHAT? Is he crazy?”…but for those people who spend part of their lives mixing pigments and cleaning brushes, they’ll understand…

A well-executed watercolor will allow for colors to mix on the page – just as mixing is happening here. The result is colors that are more rich and visually interesting – as opposed to a flat, thoroughly mixed, uniform colors.

One of the great realizations I’ve had as a painter is that it is so easy to see the beauty and visual interest in so many things – things that most of us pay little or no attention to.

“Birth of Venus”? Well, it’s like the little game you played as a child – looking into clouds: I saw a female form, an umbilical chord and raw, earthy colors… (wait a minute! Venus didn’t have an umbilical chord!) OK, I’ll entertain a title change…send suggestions!

The point here is that as you learn to SEE, all kinds of possibilities open up. Even if you have already labeled yourself as a left-brained person who “can’t even draw a straight line”, I challenge you to seek out a basic drawing class from a reputable instructor and take lessons. Don’t worry about impressing anyone or keeping up with the rest of the students – do it for yourself. If you give it your best shot (and sufficient attention), you will surprise yourself. But the best reward is that moment when it all clicks and you suddenly realize for the first time in your life that – you have learned how to see! It’s a real Eureka moment and not very different from a runner’s high or a…oh well, you’ll see…

[Regarding the above image]

But is it art? you ask: I don’t know. That’s a tough question. It’s all in the context of HOW you see it. Out in the open air – in the terribly bright sunlight, it might have looked like a sloppy mess of paint on a wet palette that needed cleaning; once framed nicely in a little box with a clean, black background on a WordPress blog, it has a crisp, sharp feeling of slick design. But the fact that the artist didn’t plan it – does that excuse it as being legitimate art? I don’t know that answer either. Could a six-year-old have created it? Maybe…

But someone has possibly singled out this image for you as a special one to behold. Does it spark memories or inspire you in any way? Do you feel an emotion of any sort? (maybe you just laugh) Or does it simply hold your interest visually, for reasons you can or cannot explain?

No one is the real expert here. The important thing is to look with an open mind and fresh eyes and realize when it is valid – to YOU.

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