To see this painting before and after marbling plus the process for adding the moths, check out rebirth of Noble Souls:


I was bantering title options with three artist friends, because “Noble Souls” didn’t quite fit the bill. It referenced a historical attribute of the moths (previous post) that didn’t express what I wanted to communicate, which was a sense of awe or amazement. When “State Of Wonder” was mentioned, it felt like a good fit. The thing is, I felt this piece was my best shot for the American Watercolor Society competition, and it needed to be right. Once the title was chosen I realized that the expression on the woman’s face wasn’t working. I’d tried to fix it, and was just making it worse. She seemed surprised or a bit fearful instead of delighted and did not appear to be very engaged by the swirling moths. She also had a “mascara” look — I don’t even LIKE makeup!


I decided to start over and rethink the face — what would achieve that sense of awe? Eyes that look up, for one thing! With a hint of a smile. Now she feels connected — almost mesmerized!

Fixing the painting, redrawing the eyes and reshaping the nose and mouth, took only about a day once the plan was set. It was well worth the extra effort. The word is just out that “State Of Wonder” was accepted into the 155th Annual International Exhibition, AWS, and will be heading for New York where it will be on display at the Salmagundi Club April 11-30!

“State Of Wonder”


While I have a bit of a reputation for being fearless as an artist, that’s actually not at all the case. But knowing that I have lots of options for making changes, even at the very end of the painting process, really helps. While watercolor is thought of as being difficult or even impossible to change, using acrylic mediums and along with opaque white watercolor or gouache opens up many possibilities.

Notice (you can tell by the location in relation to the marbling) that even the position and angle of the eyes have changed. I was careful to save most of the marbled pattern as I repainted the face.