Please excuse me for a moment while I geek out over how awesome this piece looks as leggings.
The shop feature for April is also one of my very favorite watercolor paintings, a piece entitled Now Bring Me That Horizon.
I wrote an extensive post already on my thoughts behind the philosophy of chasing new horizons (read that here if you missed it!), but I wanted to also talk briefly about the art piece that inspired my writing.
When I finished this piece and shared it on social media, people commented how much it reminded them of Peter Pan, which frankly thrilled me because I LOVE Peter Pan (the novel especially). And, fair enough, because I did include the two stars in the corner. Those two stars show up in a lot of my artwork, and indeed are even a part of one of my tattoos, and they come from Peter Pan in the first place, because it is in all seriousness my favorite book ever, if I have to pick just one. (If you’re skeptical of that, hold tight, because I have another post planned for later this year that will explain. But this is not that post.)
Second star to the right, and straight on ‘till morning. Neverland is arguably a land of great adventure, just over the horizon. But, interestingly enough, that was not at all what inspired this painting. Instead it was a different movie about a different black pirate ship…Pirates of the Caribbean. The 5th one, in fact, for I am an unashamed Pirates of the Caribbean fan and was unreasonably excited to see the 5th one in theaters, and I loved it just as unreasonably. It actually ended up inspiring me to create at least two pieces of art (two of my favorites), because of course on top of being about pirates, this movie also interwove star lore into it’s plot, and ya’ll, that is my jam. Incase you haven’t noticed, I am all about the sea and the stars over here. And also less obviously, PIRATES.
So I saw this movie in theaters and I came home just LIT. UP. And, having nothing else pressing to do, I just on a whim sat down at my desk and started playing with watercolor paints. The remarkable thing though, was that this piece developed over the course of several weeks. See, normally I am way too impatient for “proper” watercoloring. I can never quite seem to get things to have the depth and colors I want them to, and a good part of why is that I’m just too impatient to give them the time they need to really dry and then reapply. But for whatever reason, this time, I started with the sun and sky, and then was just playing with colors, and eventually I had filled the page. And then I walked away from it and let it dry….for a few days, actually. And this is the weird part. But I knew there was something to this one, even though I didn’t know what exactly. It was just an ocean scape. I’ve tried probably a million of them. But water is hard to capture in watercolor (ironically), and the galaxy trick is tricky too. So a few days later, I actually came back to it and, I think still listening to the Pirates soundtrack (or quite possibly watching one of the earlier movies on Netflix), I added another layer. Remarkably, it started to look better. So I waited a few more days. And then I added another layer.
Realizing quite by happenstance that I was on to something, I repeated this process a couple of times until I had what I thought was a pretty good sunset ocean scape painting. I added details of the stars, and (probably because I had Pirates on repeat that week), I also added a pirate ship. Although, that could have also just been my default. I don’t honestly remember. But I do draw pirate ships as a basic default if you stick a blank piece of paper in front of me and tell me to “sketch anything.” I don’t really know why. They just always come out. I think deep down I might be a pirate, or a mermaid. So I added a pirate ship here, too, and then I added some gold paint marker stars, the stereotypical Peter Pan stars, and a decorative boho moon.
Stepping back to examine, I had pretty well shocked myself. I didn’t realize when I began this painting that I was even capable of creating a watercolor painting as beautiful and layered as this. And it certainly was not anything I had planed on. Rather, it just emerged, an image from my (often literal) dreams. This is where the magic is. It’s that flow and freedom of just sitting down and playing around with your medium, and then being shocked and delighted when a beautiful pirate-y painting emerges — at once reminiscent of two of my favorite stories of adventure, and eventually even becoming a piece to spark philosophical writings on the importance of the pursuit. It’s the synchronicity and freedom of chasing an exhilarating but murky feeling through unknown waters (literally on the paper through pigmented water), not really knowing what you’re doing, and then realizing afterwards that all along you were chasing an unknown adventure and making a piece of art about chasing the unknown adventure.
That sense of freedom is even more fitting when you consider the title of this piece, which is of course no accident. The ship is obviously chasing the sun on the horizon, but that was more of an accident than anything pre-planned. The real meaning derives from a quote by the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow.
“Not just the Spanish Main, love. The entire ocean. The entire wo'ld. Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and some sails, that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom.”
That sense of freedom, of exploration, of chasing the horizon to the Spanish Main and the entire world, is something that calls to me like the gold calls to the cursed pirates. I think to some degree that sense of adventure calls to all of us, and I really do believe that following the call can lead to the most amazing experiences that make life worth living. Not all treasure is silver and gold, indeed.
If this painting calls to you or inspires you like it does me, you can grab it as a mug, tshirt, leggings, sweatshirt, cell phone case, etc. in the shop here! If you would like this piece as a fine art print (the metallic prints especially are GORGEOUS) or as a canvas, please send me a message here! Know that either way you will inspire yourself and support a local independent artist, which will help me to bring you more art, inspiration, and philosophy.
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Love and light.