Friday, February 17, 2017

Watercolour paint

Because my friend Ady is a watercolour artist I've never considered the possibility of making pictures, or working with watercolour paint.

I mean, she's just so good at art… her paintings are vibrant and beautiful and lifelike and unique to her. Oddly enough, I also never thought I could knit socks because her sister knit her so many beautiful ones and Ady made them look so elegant. I think an art form has to look achievable to be immediately inspiring to others, don't you?  I'm so glad I finally got over that and starting producing socks at alarming rates.

One day this past fall Ady was in town and needed art supplies so we arranged to meet at the art store. She pointed to a small watercolour set and told me that's what she packs when she's traveling. It was not expensive and I thought, maybe I could try learning with those paints. Just before Christmas I bought the set for myself along with some paper and set it aside as a Boxing Day present. And not a moment too soon, since I was at that point just a few days away from breaking some fingers!

I started small, as you might recall – just colouring in a few very tiny drawings I made with a pen. Then I painted the trunk of a tree and some leaves. Then I got a little more ambitious and tried a vase of flowers. Then I sketched out this cottage, and since then I've finished a few more whole scenes.  It is a completely addictive art form and I love it.

After I got about this far, I found out that watercolour is meant to be a difficult medium... but I'm not finding it difficult at all. All I wanted was to find a way to put paint on the paper that doesn't mimic Ady's style, or Jan's (Jan also paints in watercolour, and makes her own greeting cards for Christmas and birthdays), and I've managed to do that, so all the rest is just fun.  Apart from the paper curling, which I've googled and can correct, my expectations are so low I'm getting exactly the results I'm looking for, even with just one hand and no ability to hold the paper still while I work.  Although if I'm honest, I did some serious learning on this little sketch.  I wouldn't put a fussy Tudor window like this on a stone cottage again, and in future it's got to be either cartoon flowers and trees or blended mottled ones, not both together.  Now that I'm getting better at this, I can afford to be picky.

My favourite thing is how forgiving watercolour paint is – unless you've drawn in your cartoon flowers and trees with permanent felt pen before you even start, you can just put on another layer any time you mess up or change your mind. And it's so tidy, it just wipes up with water. It doesn't even smell, like oil paints do. And best of all I have discovered I do tiny images very well, and bigger images not well at all. That means my paper supplies and finished projects can be very compact, which is perfect for my tiny house.

Have you tried anything new to stretch your creativity lately? If yes, do tell, and if not - maybe this weekend is a good time to give it a go!

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