Can You See What It Is Yet

Can You See What It Is YetI’m not sure what it is about me and new things. My daughter was talking about my OCD tendencies the other day, things like not being able to shut the front door without checking that I have the keys, even though I know I have them about me. It had never even crossed my mind, but looking at things a little closer, I think she might be right.

Bumble and I decided to resurrect our love of watercolour painting recently, and when we saw a nice Windsor & Newton watercolour set yesterday, we bought it. It was only when we decided to have a dabble, that my OCD kicked in.

The pristine white box and the immaculate half pans of colour started to give me problems. I really wanted to paint, but had a real problem when it came to getting started. Initially, I unwrapped each colour, being careful to keep the wrapper intact, so I knew the name and pigment reference number for each one. I even carefully placed them in the order that they came out of the box, so I knew how they had been arranged.

Silly, as it turned out, because each plastic pan had the name and number carefully printed on it, so I managed to convince myself that the wrappers were superfluous and binned the lot. Then I realised that some of the colours were actually loose in the pan. What would happen if they got mixed up and the original order go lost? B suggested I take a photo, but even I thought that was taking it a bit far.

So we tore a page from the ring-binder pad of watercolour papers, again something that ripped at some very deeply ingrained feelings, but I got over that. We carefully taped the paper to our plywood sheets and went into the lounge to start painting. Then I hit a real stumbling block. How was I going to wet the colours, mix them on the palette, even christen a brush or two without affecting their pristine nature?

By this point, Bumble was already laying down a wash or two on her painting of the lounge and I was busying myself reading a book on painting techniques. She was getting on really well and totally ignoring the effect her painting was having on her paint box and brushes. I really had to get over this crazy feeling.

I made the first move, I plunged a brand new brush into the jam jar of crystal clear water. The bristles formed a beautiful clean edge and the universe continued to exist in its normal state. I gently stroked the brush over a dark blue paint pan and the indigo hue was drawn into the bristles, the world did not implode and everything appeared normal.

I mixed the colour on the palette, taking care not to pollute one colour with traces of another, and the feelings of dread gradually subsided. I moistened the paper and began my first wash, chasing the dark wet edge down the paper until it was done. A feeling of euphoria washed over me and I was off.

We spent the rest of the afternoon painting, waiting for washes to dry and then painting again. It was fantastic. My OCD had been conquered and nobody had died or been eaten by bears. I can still feel the deep seated issues tugging at my being, but at least I now have control.

My painting is nowhere near completion, although I am rather pleased with the results so far. It will be interesting to see how much effort is needed when I get chance to continue, having cleaned the palette and brushes. I’m currently soaking the label off a Robinsons marmalade jar, to use it as a water pot, it wouldn’t have been right to use it with it on. I’ll let you know how I get on when next the brush meets the paints and paper.

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