Friday, May 7, 2010

What Do Experts Know, Anyway?

I've had another one of those come-uppances that seem so frequent for we stubborn-mule-type persons. When I took up watercolor, I bought the cheapest paints and brushes available. My spouse suggested I get a better quality, but did I listen? I did not. I struggled and fought with those materials until today, when I went to the store, and bought 3 good brushes and some decent tubes of watercolor paint.

(Just like a car on the flatlands, you can see this coming a mile away, right?) What a difference! All those how-to books were right when they said paint and brush quality matters, and contribute to the ease of creation. I was telling this to my ever-patient spouse, who to their credit, merely murmured, "Fancy that!"

One aspect of watercolor that is most attractive, is the transparency of the pigments - cheap paints contain so much filler that this transparency is almost lost. I'm doing a painting for a friend, of yellow flowers, and the cheap paint had a chalky sort of consistency to the yellow - this better quality brand is beautifully transparent, and glows. The paper lights up with it.

As soon as I'd squeezed out some blobs of paint and began to work on my painting, I was thrilled to see the change; even when thinned considerably with water, these paints have a lovely intensity.

Must be my week for humbling lessons. I'll think I've progressed in Al-Anon, until I find I'm having this particular lesson again - the one about respecting expertise, and accepting useful information when it's offered freely to me. (Wasn't I just saying that I'm more teachable than I was pre-Al-Anon?)

From painting to program, when my mind is closed because I've decided ahead of time that I know more than the person willing to share their knowledge, I'm turning my face away from a gift. I pray to be more receptive: to these gifts, and the generosity of spirit, of those who offer them.


  1. I love when the light comes on in my brain/heart.

    The yellow sounds wonderful. I have always loved watercolors. I am learning to knit and the cheap thread frustrated me. I understand.

  2. I think it is neat, being able to recognize when we are learning. When we have those moments of 'oooh! I see now!' it gives me a sense of accomplishment, if for nothing else than my awareness.