Bean Musing

Beautiful 'Accidents'


I’ve been working on my watercolor skills a lot recently, and don’t doubt it, I did the painting in the header this time, heh.

To me, watercolor is a beautiful medium. It is delicate yet free flowing; forgiving yet punishing. You can have bold washes, or fine, detailed strokes. It is incredibly versatile. I think my friend summed it up pretty neatly — watercolors are beautiful ‘accidents’. Unlike the digital medium, which you can keep fixing whatever that goes wrong, there is no such thing as ‘undo’ or ‘erase’ in watercolor. Even if you attempt to do the same painting using the same technique, it is unlikely they will end up the same, and I think that is the beauty of it.

Take the example of the sepia-toned painting. I took brown color as the base, mixed with some red and blue, depending on whether I would like it to be the light / shadow. Honestly, I think I screwed up with the addition of red, but beautiful ‘accident’, am I right? emoji-smile I still have a lot to learn about colors.

When I was marinating my butter chicken (indian) today, I thought about the parallel between watercolor and cooking. For my butter chicken marinade, I poured the key spices from their respective packets(cumin, chili powder, ginger powder, onion powder, turmeric, masala) and I’d use yogurt as the ‘binder’ of these spices. I did not measure anything but merely going with the gut feel. Cooking is just like watercolor. With the right ingredients and the fine balance of seasoning, you can make a good meal. I think cooking is a tad bit more forgiving, because as long as it is not burnt, you can do many things to fix a wrongly seasoned dish. I could be wrong though, given my most disastrous cooking is a pasta with garam masala, which I attempted to fix by adding soy sauce. emoji-laughing We still finished it by the way.

This blog post actually came about from my conversation with J, about how I baked banana bread through approximation. J was like, “Banana bread has a high margin of error. Have you tried approximation on macarons?” To which, the answer is no. The truth is, I don’t like macarons sold at most bakeries, and if a professional can’t do it the way I like it, I’m not confident I can do it the way I like it.

Hm, on another note, I thought about how different personalities/style would like different mediums. Digital is perfect for professionals; oil is for people who have patience (it is also good for people who make mistakes often? hah); gouache is beginner friendly; watercolor is for the planner…

I think the next post will be about my art supplies, so stay tuned!