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Compost Man and my Epic Fail

Last fall I decided that it was time to start taking myself seriously as an illustrator and author. Although I've been drawing for 10 years as a professional caricature artist and learning a serious amount from my highly accomplished colleagues and peers, I had not been putting time into developing my abilities as a studio artist. It was time to take that plunge and the first thing I challenged myself to do was figure out how to handle watercolors. All fall and winter I labored with the stuff, wrestling with muddy puddles that had begun their lives as lovely pigments. Finally I came out with the piece that I will share with you here. I call it "Compost Fail". I suppose it's evident why I went with that name but I think it's also a meta analysis of my own performance. I failed in this painting in so many ways.

To my credit, I think this painting is pretty hilarious. I also enjoy the California poppies in the foreground with their attending bees and will fight to the pain in honor of my spray of liquid garbage. In all my studies of western art history I really have never seen one finer (low bars are the best bars).

Of course I made a number of newbie mistakes here including how I handled all aspects of the background as well as my masking fluid which you can see ate into the paper inside of the wheels. Most importantly this painting took ffffoooorrrreeeevvvvveeeeeeerrrrr. Forever. From draft to final this painting took me 4 full working days. 4 days! For a goofy spot illustration that is way too long.

Today however, this is one fail that I am happy to remember. I learned so much on this piece from which paper to use to how to handle backgrounds to the flaws in my process. While I plan to continue improving and have higher ambitions for myself than my current level of accomplishment, I still feel proud of how far I've come. Thanks compost man, for this epic fail. It's only up from here ;D


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