I once heard a contemporary watercolorist refer to the medium of watercolor as “the art of the controlled mistake.” The transparent, elusive quality of pure watercolor is the very source of its visual appeal. It’s like “living on the edge” in an artistic sense: the artist can’t go back and easily correct or rework an unsatisfactory passage. James Sessions’ highly skilled use of the medium reflects this quality. It is fluid yet controlled; it has suggestive passages calling for the viewer’s imagination while also employing hard-edged precisionism. Like many accomplished artists, Sessions did illustration work as well as easel painting. He also had a number of his works reproduced in prints by the New York Graphic Society. Though a Chicago-area artist, he preferred painting coastal and fishing villages. This watercolor of Gloucester was acquired from the dealer/framemaker Stephen Motyka in 2004 and reflects the best qualities of the medium.