A Look Back

300# Arches cp 7 x 9 inches plein air

While looking for old paintings to turn over and re-use, I ran across some of my paintings that aren’t so bad after all. I think that I needed to step back in time and re-evaluate some of my watercolors.

The painting at the top there was the first time that I had gone out and painted with another artist en plein air, this was back in 2007 . She also had given me a piece of 300# paper to try out, I was convinced but at the time didn’t like the price. As you can see, I am conservative with my colors and very straightforward.

140# Arches cp 7 x 9 inches

I do believe that this was about the same period of time that I painted painting #1 because it is the same view but closer in. I have painted at this particular spot at least 20 times, perhaps I need to go back and see how my current approach will be compared to these old paintings.

a close-up of the rapids
140# on Arches rough 7 x 9 inches

I couldn’t get the green to marry up with the actual painting, the color is rich while in this photo it is lack luster. The background is much better in the painting itself, the photo separated the colors. This is a studio painting I believe and I remember how much I stressed over getting it “perfect”. At the time I considered it a fail, currently I love it! Goes to show how much I have released the perfectionism within myself.

When I first started a serious “dive” into watercolors, I was scared and felt vulnerable because just the idea of posting my journey was overwhelming. It is one of the best decisions of my artistic life because I have learned to let go and enjoy the process of learning and exploring.  This post May oh My! was my first post about my incredible journey.

Thank you for bearing with me on this looking back post.

42 thoughts on “A Look Back

  1. Gosh isn’t looking back at old work refreshing, you forget your original intentions and see it just as it is, viewers eyes! I love these, especially the last one, the atmosphere looks moody, I would be chuffed to bits with it…oh and those greens in the above paintings, it really pops…can you remember the colour and brand?? Probably a long shot to remember back to then 😀

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    1. Thank you Rebecca for your comments. I do believe that it was Sap green and probably W & N because that was the main brand that I started out with. Of course I think that I mixed it with Aurelian yellow, at least for the foliage on the second one. Truthfully I am not opposed to tube greens, if it gets the job done why not? I know there are a lot of artists out there with the snobbery of “well, I mix my own”…. I can get acid greens (tube looking) with mixed as well! Take Thomas Schaller for instance, he has Sap green on his palette…..my case rests. I might get some purist angry. I rarely use tube greens though I have recently bought DS Cascade Green and I love it, so I am being a non-purist I suppose. hehe

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      1. I have no idea why I am drawn to greens, I use them so rarely, I do have that exact sap green, I think it looks so good in conjunction with your other chosen colours, it just pops to my appeal 😀….I also have cascade green, if I use a little green I often grab that……what do you tend to use these days? Or do you always mix?

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      2. I mainly mix but don’t think about how I get my greens, crazy isn’t it? Let’s see I do use Quin. Gold with a blue such as Ultra. Blue or Cobalt blue….I use the Quin. Gold a lot. I also reach for my basic yellow which right now is Aurelian and mix with the above mentioned blues and also with my lunar blue. Now since I do have Cascade Green I have been mixing that with the Quin. Gold. Truthfully I am all over my palette pushing for what I want.

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      3. He he, I too would not have a clue what mixes I use, it varies on the day, I learnt that this weekend, I mixed a skin tone, did the face, then left the rest till the following day, could I mix the same? Nah! Decided artistically it was meant to be that way…kind of lost the plot on the neck and gave up on it because I could not get the right matching tone….9carat kisses…..I must remember to do it all on the same day 😀

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  2. Wow! What fun to see you look back and allow us to Margaret! Isn’t it crazy that you didn’t love the last one? Wow!

    When I see one of your paintings show up in my feed, I get so excited. I settle back and soak it in. Your style is so uniquely you – even these from several years ago. I knew right away – YAY – A Margaret painting post!

    You are such an inspiration! I want to be you when I grow up! ❤

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    1. You are so kind Jodi, I always love it when you post a comment, I swear that you speak from the heart, a genuine heart and I appreciate that so much! I love looking back because all the years of being so hard on myself. I am thinking of giving people more of a look into my angsty, achy breaky past of finding my path in art. My perfectionism was horrible and it crops it a little now and then and it is pure torture. If I can save a few people from what I experienced I think my venture in art would be worth it just for that fact. You are sweet, I want you to be you when you grow up 😉 lol you have so much to share and reflect what is uniquely you with your art. I have seen it so many times and now you just need to grow it more and more, me too because it is a life-long journey. ❤


      1. Margaret, I’m really glad. That my thoughts, sometimes suggestions are encouraging to you. 🙂 its terribly important to have someone With a Good eye, to give feedback. positive encouraging kind.
        years ago, I had a wonderful friend, we’d go out bush bashing and plein air Gosh it was Fun! then she moved. these people, are like rare gems – invaluable in so many ways.

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      2. hehe…..I miss that! I have had a few people go out with me over the years but none that really stuck around for a lot of trudging like I do. I haven’t in years and I miss it. My husband spotted a plein air painter just a few days ago on his way back from our little community store and I had to go investigate. So funny the couple were probably thinking who is this crazy lady? I told the elderly gentleman that I never, ever see plein air painters up here and seeing him is like spotting a Mountain Lion! yes, I got a few odd looks…..I would give my eye teeth to go painting with some folks, sigh…..feeling sorry for me yet? lol Okay, enough of the boohooing! So, in short, I need feedback, the extra eyes and the encouragement, even if it is on-line. I appreciate it a lot. 🙂 end of essay

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      3. thats a hoot, only cuz it sounded so Familiar! & online is better than -0- thats for sure. Artists, seem to get “Those” looks, don’t they? well, we put sparkle into their days, by giving them something to talk about. lol
        One thing, M – I think maybe, you might even just pencil your name website , onto the work before taking your pics. that way, where ever your paintings get posted, blogged, pinned to – your name is on IT.
        people. these days.
        sigh…. seem to think its a big free for all, GrabnDash, buffet on the web. well, that was just my thoughts for protecting your efforts. 🙂

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      4. you are right…..I have been thinking about that just today, thank you. Though couldn’t people edit it out? I guess I need to sign regardless because one of these days my lack of concern and flippancy will get me, I need to get on board. 🙂 thank you! I promise, from now on!

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      5. yes, those types of http://www.pirates can do just about anything…they want to bad enough. but, name website and copyright info at least ‘warns’ them…to look for easier pickins. perhaps.
        I’d just like to educate the general public though. the ‘nice folk’ who really don’t quite understand www Piracy is the same as stealing a book. or loaf of bread…. from the laborer who worked to make it.
        a verse thats always in my mind “the laborer is worthy of his wages”

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      6. om gosh. I’m so sorry!! really! confession here (www.pirates) was just my own little phrase…. for people who are ‘stealing off the web’!
        this, is funny though. LOL still giggling 🙂
        too bad you weren’t actually here. we’d have cracked up together.

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      7. how do we Know? if someone doesn’t show, share, help?!! thats not gullible, its just not knowing. and I will say sorry, for my oversight… I’ve been calling ‘those People’ web pirates for ages…. lol

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  3. These are all beautiful, really good. Beginners mind? I think the green tone works really well. i like all of them. The second one from the top has a really nice focus on the central rocjks and the background is just nicely propping that up. The last one is more conventional. All the others already have your signature style and subject selection all over. There are several poems that come to my mind when I think of you looking through your old paintings. Keep them!

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      1. I thought of The Planet on the Table, by Wallace Stevens, which for me deals with creating even when we know it makes no real difference in the bigger scheme of things, but to the creator it is everything that matters. But also, since these are some of your earlier paintings, the one by Cafavy called, The First Step. Easy to find online: http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=145&cat=1
        Hope you find some solace and inspiry in them when the going gets tough!

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  4. Such a valuable exercise to do Margaret for so many reasons. They’re all great and the final painting is particularly wonderful, the sense of the reflections in the water really draws you in in a ‘still waters run deep’ kind of way. Lovely to see these Margaret – would be interesting to see you revisit some of these with everything you’ve learnt in the meantime!

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    1. I am thinking that I’ll go on Friday….tomorrow I am trying something new and have two locations in mind, we’ll see how it goes! thank you by the way for your comments, love hearing your impressions, any advice or something that doesn’t look right, always let me know 🙂

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  5. dawnmarie

    That last painting is really pretty. I found myself staring at the water. You said the color was even better in real life so I can see why you are pleased with it. It looks great on my iPad, so real life must be better than great! Really nice job.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed the little time travel trip – and the paintings are great, to my eyes anyway. The passage of time lets us see things a bit differently, and maybe we are kinder to ourselves (although when I read old stories I’ve written, I do sometimes shudder!)

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