My artwork represents a balance between two sides of the artist in me: freedom of expression and a need for control. During the pandemic of 2020, society’s need for control overwhelmed me; this, along with career challenges affected my mental state, and my art. I felt lost and could no longer focus on hyperrealism - the ultimate expression of control. Instead, I started throwing paint onto paper. I used my hands, brushes, and cups of water. This cathartic way of painting allowed me to more fully appreciate the beauty of watercolor: colors bleed together, water runs and pools in unique places, blooms happen - I learned how to celebrate all of it. However, there was a part of me that needed a small amount of control, so I tried something new: I used ink pens to draw on top of the watercolor paint. Still, the ink is only meant to highlight the beauty of the watercolor and provide depth and texture; it is subordinate and reactionary to the freedom expressed by the watercolor paint. When others view my work, I hope that they see the emotion, expression, and passion that comes from casting off control. Just like watercolor paint, life can offer something unique and beautiful when left to its own devices. I stopped trying to control everything, and somewhere in the mess, I’ve begun to find myself again. To see more of my artwork, visit my Instagram @a.j.v._art, or visit my website at www.ajvart.com.