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If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him you have a plan.

Holiday season approaching, my mother begins. “What do you plan for Thanksgiving dinner? Who will come to dinner? What will you serve, what time? And what is the plan for Christmas? Gift giving, dinner, …?

I tell her I am planning how to do what I am supposed to do today; I’ll worry about the holiday plans next- and one at a time. If I fill my head with too many plans, I would go bonkers!

In creating art, plans are fine and good. But they frequently do NOT work out as we hoped.

Sometimes, in a perfect painting world, the concept through completion go like a dream. You get a great inspiration, plan it out, paint flows from your brush to the paper, your perfect vision appears, is loved by all, wins a prize in a show… may sell for a great price to a happy customer- But not often!


The plan: crumple a piece of watercolor paper, smooth it out, tape in down, wet it with water, paint on it.



My theory: the paint would sink into the folds and creases, beautifully enhancing the floral forms I painted. Here is the start.


Here it is further developed- to me it was going Nowhere! So I re- wet it, and randomly threw some more paint on it.


Now it looked more interesting to me. I developed a tree form this time.


Now it had gone to a painting I could work with. But after more development, it eluded my ideas, and I put it aside. So much for my yellow roses plan.

A year later a visit to a gallery in New Hope, Pa, found me on the main street on a beautiful day. There I saw the most beautiful old white house, loaded with gingerbread trim and partly hiding behind a flowering cherry tree. With my ever present camera I took its photo.

Later in my studio I was between projects and pulled out some oldies I’d abandoned. There was that yellow roses tree, unfinished, an idea  in limbo.

What if I could capture that beautiful white house I’d seen, and paint it with cherry flowers? Would it work on the old discarded painting?

What happened next was a dream of a painting; all flowed from my brush to the paper with little planning. It happened just right for me this time, unforced, unplanned, the perfect place for those little yellow roses to go.


New Hope Cherry Tree- the white gouache paint I used seemed to add a transparent and transient sense of timelessness to the scene, the tree to embrace it as well. The painting was resolved, I was happy with it.

That’s why I don’t throw out failed paintings; what lies under may add perfectly to what is to come.

My plan came to fruition- but NOT as I had planned, lol!

Two last notes- If you are ever interested in prints of my paintings, they can be purchased at several on line stores, including Fine Art America and Zazzle. Links are at my webpage, and here as well.(about link)


I am also now offering for purchase ready to frame, matted art prints, 11 x 14 inches. $45.00 includes shipping in the continental US. Contact me here with a note or go to my “about” link for other contact info. You can also message me at my facebook art page, the art of Patricia Allingham Carlson.

Last note- I would enjoy your suggestions about future blog topics; please drop me a note if you have an idea. Your responses to my blogs are always of interest to me too!

Have a successful week, all-