Shazam, a unique watercolor by Woody Hansen

 Shazam  – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen, 15″ x 22″
To learn more, ore view this painting framed, select the image.


What helps make a painting special, or unique? Furthermore, how would one go  about developing uniqueness? Ask several people in the field of art and you will receive many different answers. You will come away with little agreement. Art is, after all highly subjective. There are many avenues on the road to uniqueness. What follows is just one of those avenues.

First, let’s define what is meant by the word, unique. According to the Meriam-Webster dictionary,  unique is, “…Something or someone that is unlike anything or anyone else; very special or unusual; belonging to or connected with only one particular thing, place, or person.”


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To label something unique is not necessarily a positive or negative comment on its artistic or professional worthiness. Something can be poorly crafted, or visually chaotic, yet each is unique in a negative way. For the purpose of this post, we’ll attempt to take the high road.

In the case of Shazam, it is not necessarily the end result that is unique; it is the process that is unique. Is there something to be learned from the process? Can the reader adapt this method to create his own unique work of art? Read on.


First, it is best to never discard, tear up, or in any way destroy those paintings we personally, and shortsightedly, deem as clinkers, stinkers, dogs, etc. Save them dear friend, save them. We all have them, some of us have more than others. Carefully place these stinkers in a stack for reflection weeks, months, or even years from now. In time, some of these discards might turn into unique jewels in waiting. Time heals all failed watercolors, for failure does not have to be permanent.

Shazam, began on October, 21, 2011. Its original life ended in a matter of hours, or days. It was deemed a failure. It was not touched again until about two weeks shy of three years when it began its resurrection. At that point, it was only a ;matter of days before it was finished and signed with much personal satisfaction.


I no longer recall why I was originally dissatisfied with the painting, nor do I recall if the initial attempt was one of abstraction, or non-objectivity. It matters not the original intention, only the final outcome matters. The best thing I did years ago, was to have the good sense to set the painting aside to possibly live another day.

What if in a state of anger, dissatisfaction, or depression I had permanently destroyed it? What if, at the time, my inability to carry it to an acceptable conclusion those many years ago? The lesson learned is to avoid the temptation to think of one’s work as inadequate, unworthy of even lining the proverbial birdcage.

Regardless of one’s opinion of Shazam’s outcome, the initial stages of failure so many months ago provide the basis, the setup, the spring board  for what, to me, has become a satisfactory completion of the initial work. Along this theme, a couple of old songs of yesterday come to mind, High Hopes and Never Give Up.


The title is an afterthought. The name is not derived from a current mobile application. Older readers, and some younger ones as well, might recognize the unintentional resemblance of the iconic, bright, yellow  symbol on the uniform of superhero, Captain Marvel, who has the ability to fight various forms of evil.

Captain Marvel LINK: Old Philosopher:;_ylt=A2KIo.DZED5UGXoAKKH7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTEwZHVmbG5uBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE4MQRncG9zAzEw?p=the+old+song%2C+never+give+up+the+ship&vid=a20a67db0a72e8b9a517aa163cccdbef&l=3%3A11&

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