A different kind of green thumb.
You don’t just pop a seed in the ground and expect to come back three months later and have a crop of broccoli. Neither can you stand in front of an easel and start slapping paint around and expect to find a quality piece of artwork later.
In both cases, you need some work and you need some luck.
Since I do a lot of gardening I came up with some ways that vegetable gardening is like creating a painting. (Some of these are specific to watercolor – since that is what I do!)
Plan and prep
You need to have a plan. Most gardens you map out ahead of time – what you are going to plant and where; how much space you are going to use for each type of plant.
A painting usually is also planned out. Preliminary pencil sketches or preliminary small paintings may be made. Colors are selected ahead of time. You need to choose subject matter, size of the painting and viewpoint.
Preparation is also key. Prepare the soil by digging out old plants, weeds. You may level out the ground or mark boundaries.
Similarly, you choose the painting surface (I use paper or canvas or illustration board. Paper can be hot press or cold press). Depending on the type of painting, the surface may need to be prepared. Sometimes watercolor paper is stretched. I usually don’t stretch but the paper must be mounted securely to a hard surface. When I use watercolor canvas, it must be rubbed down to remove the slickest layer.
Eliminate what is not needed. Pull the weeds. Remove distracting elements in design of the paintings. Leave out unnecessary details.
Sometimes you are surprised by what shows up in your garden (from previous years dropped seeds, from the community garden mulch mix) and in your artwork. Watercolor is famous for unexpected surprises.
Paintings grow of their own accord. Sometimes a painting just wants to be what it wants to be – you are wise if you can let it branch out.
They take time and attention. They have their own germination period and time to maturity which cannot be rushed.
Harvest and storage
Pick only at the proper time. Then you may need to consider storage. Not all food can be consumed immediately There is freezing, canning, root-cellaring or making sauces and jams.
It is a skill to know when a painting is at its peak.
A painting must be stored properly out of extremes of temperature and humidity. You may want to mat or frame immediately or perhaps just “preserve” it on a rack.
Sometimes they bear fruit, sometimes they don’t.
You need to have enough water.
Thin it out your sowings. Not all paintings are successful.
Just because you can grow peas doesn’t mean you can grow a watermelon.
If the crop fails, you can always buy some at the store/gallery.