I have a watercolor by an uncle of mine long deceased. He gave it to me one afternoon in the '80s while visiting him in Denver, Colorado. I saw it sitting on a shelf without a frame and commented on it. He simply handed it to me and told me to take it. I love this painting which is probably just a study he created back in the 1940s. It depicts a cabin in the South Platte River Valley near Bailey, Colorado, and he told me that it is no longer there.
What I like is the lighting, a purplish shadowing, and the nature of it that seems to have been created with some abandon as an afternoon’s knockoff. An artist friend, admiring it once, said that artists sometimes do their best work when it’s done as a study as they have stripped themselves of the worry about what people will think about it since, well, it’s just a sketch of sorts.
When I’m stuck or between projects I sometimes do short piano etudes with the same sort of abandon; works intended just to explore a compositional idea I would like to expand later, or works that present me, as a developing pianist, with some sort of technical exercise. I’m often more or less happy with these short works for the very spirit of not-caring that I have toward them. It’s not that I don’t care about the end product, but I don’t worry about the end product.