Surviving the Garden Hose Wash Off

I have never destroyed a finished painting to such a degree and then brought it back to life again.
Oil and Acrylic artists get to paint over but we watercolourists have to be more imaginative if a work is not to end up in the bin.

Yesterday I thought I was happy with my full sheet (76cm x 56cm) abstract mixed media of watercolour and collage using an artichoke for my inspiration.
After I signed it, photographed it and looked again there were parts I did not like and my first thoughts were to just start again.
Instead I took it outside my studio door to the garden hose and hosed off much of the colour and all of the collage elements (textured papers) something I have never ever done before. It felt quite liberating but I hope it is not something I will have to do often. Hours of work flowed down the garden path along with any hope of just a bit of tweaking.You can see from the images below the extent to which the original painting had disappeared.

This morning on entering the studio I was not sure what the surface might be like to restart on given it once had glued on papers but it was fine and suited the earthy, scruffy texture of the artichokes.
You may well have liked the first painting but of course there is no turning back just an opportunity to construct another original. If only we could have the best bits in the one watercolour but that just is not reality.

We learn more from our challenging paintings and the opportunity to think of a fix than we do from those that just happen beautifully.

Here are my steps:
On a full sheet of Saunders Waterford 425gsm Rough

Adding Collage - rice paper, Japanese papers for texture before painting

Creating a background leaving white for some main artichoke globes
Just about finished - should have looked at it for longer before the next step

Artichokes in Mixed Media
Finished - or so I thought

After its radical Garden Hose Wash Off

Adding new colour and changing the composition slightly
No collage added this time

A Rich Source
Watercolour 76cm x 56cm


  1. It survived Lorraine! Well done! There's yet another option in your repertoire.

  2. I like both results! I don't think I would have the guts to wash off the painting. Good for you!

  3. I do like the colors in the first version a lot, but I fully understand that feeling of dissatisfaction an artist feels when you are not happy with a painting. I usually just toss it. Never thought of hosing it down. will try that.

  4. Wow Lorraine you certainly did s lovely make over. The first piece was very vibrant and striking. Yet I love the softer touch you achieved in the final outcome. Thanks for sharing. ?

  5. I've never washed off a painting with a garden hose, but you succeeded! I'm surprised the paper wasn't a mess but that may be due to the rough Saunders Waterford?

  6. Very interesting art blog and so amazing paintings !!!


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