This watercolor piece ended up differently than I had planned, but I couldn't be happier with the end results. I'd been thinking about this one for while. I wanted to use analogous colors—blues, greens, and yellows—to create something earthy. Then, I was going to title it "Analogue" as a statement about enjoying nature without digital interference. That was my plan. However, in the face of inspiration, I abandoned the concept entirely.
That concept did guide me through most of the piece. I even penciled in trees on the outer layer during initial sketching. As I drew layer by layer, I would look at the page, visualize something, and draw it. I knew most of it would be abstract, so I didn't think too much about what the shapes would represent. I knew I wanted trees; that was all I had figured out. As I started adding color on the interior levels, something kept bothering me. What were those long triangles pointing up between the trees?
As I continued painting, I kept feeling like something else needed to accompany the trees. I didn't know what. And I didn't know what the triangles in between them would be.
"Inspiration exists, but it must find you working." —Pablo Picasso
I kept adding color, building out to it, even painting the background beyond the mandala. The point is, I kept working. Even though I hadn't quite figured out the plan, even though I knew I was missing something.
I kept asking, "What kind of triangle silhouette do we see next to trees? What could those shapes become?" I had painted nearly everything else when the idea of steeples was revealed to me. Poured in with it came in the notion to alternate different kinds of steeples. I titled it "Analogous", using the many meanings of the word to apply to the color palette as well as religions that coexist alongside each other. At the very end, I decided to add black outlines reminiscent of stained glass.
This piece exceeded my expectations in every way. If I hadn't listened to my muse, it would have been a lukewarm sentiment about nature. Instead, it's a powerful statement about religion and spirituality.