Foray into watercolours

Well, I’ve finally got round to trying out my watercolour set. I think I may have shared my previous attempt with my tube based watercolours?

You may be thinking this painting had seen no water, and you’d pretty much be right! I hadn’t realised how concentrated the paints are in tubes, and I’d been used to using acrylics, so I used the watercolours in the same way I’d use acrylics ๐Ÿ˜ณ. This was obviously not going to work! But my blogging friend Frances at libertasamericanaart has been encouraging me to give watercolours a go, and yesterday I received a gorgeous parcel from her that included watercolour pencils and a brush, as well as a copy of her amazing bird art notebook… Go check out her blog and if you like her work then get in touch with her as she’s selling copies of her notebook at a very reasonable price!

It inspired me to give it another go. So I watched several you tube videos and read a few pages of advice and here’s my progress throughout this afternoon :

Initial circle
Adding a darker moon shape to add dimension (in theory!)
Blending a bit more and ending up with darker unblended areas!
Random brush strokes with the effect of blotting off excess water with a tissue
Trying to blend from cerulean blue to prussian blue
Smoothing the blending with a bit less water once the initial attempt had dried a bit!
Playing with getting texture and 3d effect on some bullrushes
Practise dragonflies
Understanding why you’d start a piece with a wash, rather than trying to add it later!!
My practise page
My ‘final piece’

I really enjoyed the process of playing, and I gradually got better at blotting excess water off my brush so I didn’t get huge blobs at the end of my brush strokes.

I’m glad I looked for ideas on the Internet as it helped teach me some techniques, rather than just going at it all blindly.

And, amazingly, I actually really like my final piece. I don’t reckon that’s bad for an afternoon’s work ๐Ÿค—

But I’d welcome any help with where to go from here… Have you come across any useful tutorials/books? Can you spot any things I can try to improve any rookie mistakes? I’d love to hear your thoughts ๐Ÿ˜Š

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26 thoughts on “Foray into watercolours”

      1. Plus I’ve been looking at some other people’s watercolours and realising that sometimes the unintentional lines created when blending isn’t totally seamless are what give the watercolour its character

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  1. Julia, thanks so much for the link and kind words about my art. I’m really glad you like my booklet so much.
    To be fair, you sent me a very lovely handmade book with beautiful papers I plan to use to make birds. I also love the raven print so much that I am going to frame it to go above my drafting desk.
    I think you are making lovely progress with your watercolors. Practice is the best way to improve – just keep at it. I’m not a fan of watercolors in general, but I find I do well with the pencils. It looks like you found some good videos to get you going.
    Here’s a lady I really admire as a person, business woman, and emerging artist. I have been following her for years, first with a book, and then on her blog. She recently started painting and has good links as well as advice on not expecting everything you do to be perfect. This is my biggest struggle! https://missmustardseed.com/category/mustard-seed-studio/
    Good luck with your paints and please keep sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much… That looks like an interesting blog. Did you get my email that I sent on Sunday? I definitely can identify with the issue of expecting everything you do to be perfect! I enjoyed the process of painting yesterday but I was also really pleased with the final results, even though both sets of bullrushes were quite different. I’m thinking I might try painting some pictures in response to poems I’m reading, and see how they go. I’ll definitely share any paintings I do (even if they’re less than my idea of perfect!)

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      1. We can work on this together Julia! I’m a terrible perfectionist.
        I did get your email, thank you. Hopefully I will be back on track with snail mail next month.

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      2. Thank you! It will be fun to work on this! I’m so glad the show is up and running now. Bizarrely a couple of your comments ended up in my spam comments. I’ve moved them back but now I’m not sure where they’ve gone, so if you have any unanswered comments then I’m sorry… I don’t mean to ignore them.

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      3. No problem! I think I responded to your email at least twice.
        We have terrible internet in the country and I loose work all the time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  2. Oh my goodness, I have just read all the posts in your blog from the very beginning, and I was gripped all the way through by your journey of discovery! I love the way you try new things; the way you show us your mistakes as you learn, so we see we don’t have to be perfect; the way you delight in the satisfaction that comes with making something; the fun and playfulness you share, which is making me enthusiastic to tap into my own creativityโ€”not necessarily in needlework or sewing crafts, though I have enjoyed those in the past, but in my area of writingโ€”but with a new approach; and I love the way you have a conversation with us, and show how creativity, and sharing our creativity with others, is so enriching and so full of lessons we can use in life. You’re also inspiring me to get back to my own blog and maybe do something new with it….thank you so much for all this!
    And I’ve forgotten to say that you have a wonderful eye, and I love your sense of colour.

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    1. Oops… I accidentally hit send when I was trying to press another button!!
      You’re such a lovely friend and you always say such perceptive and encouraging things.
      I’m so excited that the things I’ve written and done have motivated you… I’d never have thought that would be the case… Given that it’s been your writing that has inspired me to explore, enjoy and even try writing poetry. How lovely it is to have friends that encourage us and help the best of us to emerge.
      Plus, I am amazed and feel privileged that you actually read every single one of my posts ๐Ÿค— thank you so much.

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    1. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ˜Š. I was super pleased with how the dragonflies turned out… Especially the first one where I got the wings almost translucent… And although his head ended up more blobby than I meant it to be I ended up really liking it

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  3. Nice job! That’s the important part when learning watercolours. How much water to use etc. Good on you though, you’ve done really well so far ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. I love what you did with your watercolours! I love the look of watercolour, but I have never been able to get the hang of it. I think I give up too easily too, when it doesnโ€™t go the way I want. Keep posting your efforts and maybe it will inspire me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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