If there’s one aspect of my creative world that is my nemesis, it’s watercolors. I love the look of watercolor paintings and, conceptually, it doesn’t seem much different than working with colored pencils: draw design, do an underlay of color, then fill in main color. Seems simple, right?
WRONG! Or at least not for me. I gave watercolors a good effort several years ago, but abandoned them due to frustration and the fact that I wasn’t striving terribly hard to work on my art. But now, my determination to improve my watercolors has been renewed. Unfortunately, in the meantime, my skills haven’t magically taken a quantum leap.
Before I share my sad attempt at watercolor, I just want to say the quality of my art should not have any bearing on the quality of the supplies I’ve chosen.
For my main watercolor paints, I couldn’t resist the very cute and handy Winsor & Newton box of watercolors. Not only does it hold the paints, but even has a secret palette compartment and a teensy-tiny water dish! I’m sure a normal artist would create lovely things with these paints.
I’ve also armed myself with some Derwent Inktense pencils. I’ve been playing with the Inktense blocks for some time now and love the strength of the colors.
And as a substrate, this piece of “art” was done on Ampersand’s Aquabord (sort of like Claybord but with a bit of texture)
No, Really, I Know What I’m Doing
This painting was based on a photo I am planning to use for a future piece of colored pencil art, but I thought the crocus’s form was simple enough for my first renewed attempt with watercolors. So much for thinking.
Finn McSpool (from Crawcrafts Beasties) even stepped in to judge the progress of my work.
For the most part it started out okay; the background wasn’t too shabby, the stems/leaves were mediocre, and the shadowing filled in just as I pictured it should in my head.
But the final product. Um, not so good. Sigh….
Look, Finn McSpool is so ashamed of my watercolor ability he’s closed my box of paints and turned his back on my work. Woe is me.
Your Assistance Please
I don’t know why I keep on with watercolors. I create perfectly fine pieces of work with colored pencils, but there is just something about watercolors. I think it’s that I’m too stubborn to give up on this challenge.
Although I would love to take a watercolor class, that’s just not in the creative budget at the moment. For now, I need to resort to books and/or videos (and of course practice) if I want to get better at this. I’ve come across some okay books, but could really use some advice from those who have figured this medium out regarding how you did it.
So, any watercolor artists out there? If you can recommend any books or videos that helped you learn your skill, I’d love to hear from you.
And, to everyone: Is there a skill you just can’t seem to get the knack of? I’d love to hear from anyone who wants to share their creative woes.
Tammie Painter is the author of The Trials of Hercules and an artist who dedicates herself to the tedium of creating Images with colored pencil. Her work is currently being featured in a Solo Exhibition at Red Soils’ Entry Gallery.