Effects Are What Matter, Technique Only Supports

Simple sketch of a variant of Ochna integerrima, mai núi.

One of my concerns early on in my art development was the idea that I should always execute technique in standard ways. To tell the truth, it was valuable for me to learn the "proper" way to do things (of course, there really aren't any proper methods bestowed upon us by the art gods, just communities of general agreement between mortals).

But as I continued to improve and level up my skills, worry over being proper started to hinder me. Part of this circles around aspects of ableism that I internalized: the idea that I have to do things in a manner approved of by authorities.

Eventually I learned that technique supports effects, and that effects are ultimately what matter. How we achieve them is usually merely of secondary interest.

These days I don't build more watercolors on top of a very plain watercolor painting. Instead I use colored pencils to add texture. This is considered cheating by some artists, and invalidates my work from being entered into various watercolor artist societies, but my illness means I need to find energy-efficient ways to achieve my desired effects.

I still veer sharply away from photorealism and naturalism; what stylization I apply results in a different take on gong bi paintings (detailed and colored Chinese art styles).

Here's the underpainting, by the way.

Underpainting for the above sketch.

It's quite plain; the transformation it takes, shown above, adds interest and additional interplay between colors, such as optical mixing in the background.

Cảm ơn. Ava