Watercolour is a great way of exploring the issue of control. Too much and it feels tight, too little and there's no structure. Luckily for us its just paint on paper and so there's not much to loose! Why then is it so hard to loosen up?
Watercolour reveals everything we do with the paint, all the imperfections stand out, and yet these are often what makes watercolours attractive to look at. Who has painted and not expressed how they wanted to paint one thing, but in the end it turned into another. A viewer may truly enjoy what we produced, but still we are dogged with the knowledge of our reliance on fortune.
If we can develop an attitude of investigation in watercolour we can indulge in a kind of purposeful play. We can still define what we are trying to achieve but at the same time be willing to explore new avenues that open up. One of the decisions we will have to make is when to stop playing about with our painting before we break it. Then we are back with the question of control.
Our benevolent viewer though, who thought that our watercolour mistakes made for a great painting, is not taken in as easily as we think. They see beyond the detail and are captivated by something we created but couldn't control. It may be a certain combination of colours or forms that sparked this off, it may even have been something we fully intended. I'd like to think that they tap in to the energy behind the process itself, that will have given what we do its identity. In this way we be able to fight less to "express" something in particular and let our painting do the talking.