Original Watercolor by Woody Hansen, Happy Scarecrow

Watercolor Title: HAPPY SCARECROW – Original watercolor by Woody Hansen
To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, please click image)

The creation of a watercolor painting can be a crazy ride.  For example this watercolor came into being over several years, stretching from 2009, to 2013! The actual working dates are 06/17/09, 11/26/12, 11/28/12. 11/29/12, 12/03/12. and 04/05/13! The time spent painting on each date, of course varies from minutes to hours. Such an approach to creating a watercolor is not the norm for me, but then neither is placing a scarecrow in a painting.

So why the scarecrow? The scarecrow is the result of a spontaneous, multifaceted, serendipitous, event involving some small degree of risk and what might be termed poetic or artistic license. But wait, there is more, or as the late Paul Harvey might have said, “here is the rest of the story.”

First, the concept of poetic or artistic license is fascinating. Consider the title from the 1962 novel by the great Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes. That title seems quite creative, despite  some opinion that the original line might have been based on a phrase from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Despite poor grammar, someone certainly used originality and poetic license to his advantage and for our entertainment.

Second, there is the 1974, song lyric from “Tin Man,” sung by the group, America.  The lyric goes, “But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man, that he didn’t, didn’t already have.” What wonderful, imaginative word choice! Damn the grammar police, this is artistic risk-taking at it’s best, especially the repeat of the word “didn’t!”

Now, with the previously stated concept in mind, it is on that twenty-ninth day of November, 2012, that  I become aware of a serendipitous shape in the form of a scarecrow. At this stage it is little more than a blob of paint, a suggestive shape.  However, I reject the idea of a scarecrow randomly stuck in a rather rugged, rocky, semi-mountainous, landscape painting. What’s a solitary, scarecrow doing in a place like this, instead of on a farm-like landscape where he might be better placed? At first, it just doesn’t make sense.

Still, I can see with just a little nudging here and there, a cute, happy scarecrow could appear. A “cute: scarecrow? Perish the thought! Develop him further, or paint him out?  I decide to put off the decision. Back goes the painting into the unfinished stack.

Nearly a half-year later, on April 5, 2013, this watercolor is rescued from an ever-increasing stack of unfinished paintings. what to do about the scarecrow. Then I recall seeing, a month or so earlier an actual happy looking scarecrow sitting proudly on the seat of an old, rusty, tractor. Beside the archaic tractor, in a rather rugged, rocky, semi-mountainous, area is a sign reading, “Tractor Bob.”

Ironically, at about the precise moment of thinking about Tractor Bob, I become aware of the background music I paint by.  Into my ear canals something beautiful this way comes,”But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man, that he didn’t, didn’t already have.” Serendipitous. Artistic license. Take a risk. Instantly, the decision is made. In a few strokes of a pen and brush that blob of paint, that suggestive shape gives life to a “Happy Scarecrow.” Artistic police be damned.

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