building a site

all the while, i was building this watercolor site, mostly in the evenings and on weekends.

my job was intense and consuming, and the site was a way to work at watercolors when i was too exhausted to paint.

study became writing. the swatches led to a swatch catalog. the painting led to a paint journal. the color study became notes on color.

the notes on color were originally four pages, then six, then ten, then a dozen. pages grew to unmanagable length, and split in two. i moved sections around to make the logic of my investigations more comprehensible.

i studied color vision over many months, and the notes became an evolving attempt to summarize, then justify, then completely revise, the precepts and misconceptions of "color theory."

i wrote several book reviews, and the site became basically my reading notes, summarizing my impressions of the books (separate from what i learned by doing the demonstration paintings).

at first i only wanted to post book reviews and paint evaluations, but the site quickly grew in scope. i needed to see the connections between all aspects of painting, and put them in words. so i added more sections — on artists, materials, palettes — to bring these parts of my study into the information.

by wasteful repetition and revision, i rethought and redid what i had done before, trying to find a design for the site, and a shape to my thoughts, that was stable. but i was learning too fast, so i was always behind in my revisions.

in the end, the web site competed with the painting; i couldn't do both with my time.

sometimes this was fine. my progress in painting slowed, but at the same time became steadier. progress was still there.

sometimes it wasn't. i seemed to be procrastinating, evading. the site took over when i hit a painting plateau.

my wife was often busy, or away on travel; i have few friends, and rarely go out to social events or entertainments. whatever time i spent on the site only salved my loneliness.

i was still working at painting, even when i wasn't painting.

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