clarinet by jamie hansenMany watercolor artists use blue painters tape to get crisp and clean white borders for their work. It’s a lovely and very finished look that is the perfect complement to a rich double mat. It’s a statement towards their expertise and their triumph over their medium. It demonstrates their control of the watercolor. It’s a careful boundary between their work and the world around them.

I don’t like perfect lines at all. The borders of my work are rough and unfinished, and they gradually fade to white. I want to dwell in these unfinished boundaries and the exposed borders.

Why are the edges of my work important? Why do I feel compelled to leave the exposed borders and messy trails of paint around a carefully planned composition? It might be my relationship with my substrate, the paper. Maybe if I leave a little bit exposed, the viewer can sense of the expanse of white that started the work. If I transformed it all, how could I keep celebrating the process?

It also might be my invitation to dive a little deeper in the piece. You can gradually wade in starting at the edge and moving farther into the piece. I leave traces of my process with the unfinished borders and I celebrate the lovely and completely unplanned currents of water that deposit my paint by chance in my wet-in-wet technique.

There is passion and beauty in the raw and unfinished, like the shifting borders of oceans and lakes and like our unfinished seams between fantasy, emotion, and our real life full of numbers and obligations. I want my art to dwell in the places in between, and celebrate the not-quite perfect.