A painting in progress, part of the Water Reflection series I’m working on

As I was motoring along, painting enthusiastically, an unbidden thought came into my head. I had a clear memory of doing a paint-by-number painting of a lake with a swan floating in it, complete with a reflection. I was probably about 10 years old. Usually, I’d get frustrated with those things, as I didn’t particularly like staying in the lines, and I’d end up tossing the unfinished masterpiece into the garbage. I stuck with this particular one, and once completed, my proud mother had it framed.

So here I am, painting away, and it suddenly struck me that this image had some similarity to that old paint-by-number. Can a painting be too pretty? When does a painting become a cliche? I can’t tell if I’ve crossed the line or not. What do you think?