Old Dog New Tricks
Sometimes Mondays

Important Lessons

I've been taking watercolor classes for a few years now.   Watercolor is very challenging for me.  (Watercolor is challenging for most people, so that helps a little.)  I'm much more comfortable drawing.  (Because slower.  More controlled.)  (Also erasers.)  But watercolor?  It happens fast!  And beginners have very little control.  (And, well.  No erasers.)  

The only way I'm going to get better . . . is with practice.  Lots of practice.  I'm trying to paint or sketch at least a little bit every day.  And sometimes I combine my drawing with my painting.  (This is ink plus watercolor, for example.)


I'm getting better.  I'm getting more confident.  But . . . it's going to take a lot more classes and a lot more practice before I'll be able to sit and paint the landscape around me!

Here are a few things (three, in fact!) I've learned that help me keep going with my watercolor painting:

1 - Materials make a big difference.  High quality paints, brushes, and paper really help to make painting more comfortable -- with better results.  (Just like knitting.  And sewing.  And gardening.)  It's also helpful to remember that . . . it's just paper, y'know?  (They make more every day.)


2 - Look for improvement in each attempt.  I paint a lot of real clunkers, y'know?  Stuff I'd never post here -- and likely wouldn't even bring to show my (very supportive) classmates and instructor.  But I've learned to look for the good parts in any failed attempt.  At this stage, I have a tough time putting all the elements of a landscape (for example) together in one painting.  Usually, I'll like the clouds in one attempt, the reflections in another, the water in yet another.  Someday, if I keep working at it, maybe I'll like everything.  But for now . . . I look for something positive about each piece.  (In this one, I really liked the grasses. Even though the rest of it just . . . well . . . sucked.)

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3 - Maintain your sense of humor.  Last week, we were working on cows.  My quick watercolor sketch was going okay . . . until I (repeatedly) wrecked one of the eyes.  The poor thing looked blinded; totally dead in one eye.  So I took it to class like this . . . 

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We all had a good laugh.  But I'm ready to try again.  On better paper.  With a better drawing to begin with.  

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If it works out better this time, great!  And if not?  Well.  I'm sure I'll learn something from the process!


Be sure to visit Carole today, for more Three on Thursday posts.