After randomly applying some miskit to the paper to save some curving white shapes, I headed outside to squirt and splash color on the full sheet of Arches paper. I spritzed the colors to make them run and so enjoyed all the dancing they did as they dripped and flowed together. This is what watercolor does the best, and I loved watching it happen.
Next, I hopped into the hot tub (vacation, remember?) and turned the multicolored, in-progress painting all around to discover how I could proceed. When I turned the paper vertical, I saw that the paint had flowed to create what resembled the profile of a man. His nose was maybe a little too big, but the profile was there for sure, looking downward. The problem was that I also saw a crown of thorns above his head, partially created by the miskited areas. No matter how else I turned the painting, the only thing I could actually see was this profile with the crown.
I slipped into shopping clothes, grabbed my brother's car keys, and drove in the direction of Walmart. NO WAY was I going to paint a religious looking painting. I'd had enough of religiosity recently, enough for a lifetime as far as I was concerned.
As soon as I entered Walmart, I KNEW the name of the painting. THE COST. And I knew I had to go back and paint it.
Back at my makeshift studio, I took out my watercolor pencils and enhanced the hair and crown area, created a beard, and developed more of a mouth. I found a mirror to look in to see how eyes would look in agony..... (and I had a measurable amount of agony going on in my life at that time to help me sense it for the painting.)
Now I know that I no longer have to strive for 'perfection.' I can stop trying to accomplish perfection as if my life depended on it. When I make mistakes and do things wrong, I know that I am forgiven. That cost has been fully paid.
Many years later, when I look at those fluid, magenta drips, I am still struck by a sadness or agony, but I also feel a wonder, an awe at the touching beauty I see ... very strange and conflicting emotions that somehow work out ok together.
This isn't a religious painting but a painting about being freed. I'm thankful for being given this gift to paint, but I'm most thankful for knowing God's pure love and acceptance through His most precious gift, Jesus Christ.
"THE COST" Transparent Watercolor & Watercolor Pencils on 140#CP Arches 22 x 30" NFS (Available as a Lithograph Print in Several Sizes)