Sometimes I find it frustrating that my watercolour paintings (including this abstract leaf print) always dry so much paler (and less vibrant) than I might like, but luckily with easy digital manipulation I’ve discovered I can visually ‘correct’ the colour when photographing and saving it as a digital image!
Here is the original painting before and after whacking up both the contrast and saturation by 30 (whatever that numerical value represents!) – I’d wanted it to feel like a bright explosion of colour, not a dull disappointment… 🙂
I’ve been thinking recently that my blog is in need of some rejuvenation.
But the more I thought about it I realised that as my blog tends to follow whatever is going on for me in my life at any given time, it’s more likely that it’s my life that needs some rejuvenation – or more to the point, me. Truth be told I’ve been feeling old and boring and tired and thoroughly fed up with life…
I guess the Covid pandemic slowed us all down to some extent, whether just through a succession of lock-downs and restrictions or like with me, also getting sick with it and finding its long-term symptoms frustratingly reluctant to go away. Oh, and about a year ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip, so as well as ongoing Covid fatigue the arthritis has affected my mobility more than I like. As a result, indoor activities have taken precedence nowadays over gadding about here there and everywhere.
So lately I’ve been playing around with paints – with water-colour paints in particular – in an attempt to get a bit more creative again. So far I’ve mainly been painting landscapes and plants, with varying levels of success. To be clear I’m not ever aiming towards creating intricate, accurate botanical colour studies or detailed photographic replicas of my chosen subjects, but instead I’m trying to learn to paint loosely, recreating a more abstract visual ‘feel’ of the thing.
Basically I’m experimenting loads, messing about, mixing things up, finding what works for me and what doesn’t, and this week’s exploration of different ways of putting paint on paper comes courtesy of random garden leaves – I’ve been painting onto the backs of the leaves and printing them directly onto paper. It’s enjoyable to do, but is a messy business.
Playing around and experimenting with things like this feels such fun – it feels like it’s impossible to remain neat and tidy and fully in control of the outcome. Even getting as much paint on myself as on the paper is fun, quite liberating actually. And hopefully it will prove to be rejuvenating, too… 🙂
I had fun using real leaves from my garden with my usual water-colour paints to play about with making abstract leaf prints (that’s both Paint and Prints with a ‘P’!) – I tried a raspberry leaf, a flowering cherry leaf, a rudbekia leaf and an anemone leaf – the anemone without doubt gave the best results, as the leaf was both strong enough and pliable enough to print its veins relatively clearly onto the flat paper. And I found using the underneath of the leaf rather than the top surface was more successful.
I made a real mess of my fingers (and my work surface!) trying to paint onto the curving leaves then printing them onto the paper, but never mind, it’s only water-colour paint so washes off easily and it really was great fun 🙂
Still practicing my water-colour painting, still playing about with exploring different ways of representing my world on paper, still not quite there yet in finding my own style… But at least I’m still having fun trying… 🙂
I never like feeling like a beginner at anything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I’m always emotionally uncomfortable at the feeling of not really knowing what I’m doing. There’s always an internal, infernal life-long feeling of not-good-enough-ness nagging away in the background, mocking my nascent efforts.
So here I am determinedly picking up water-colour painting in my later years, struggling to find my own way with what feels like such an unforgiving medium. It seems like there is simply nowhere to hide with water-colours, the promise of beautiful luminous transparency and fluidity that attracts me so strongly to it is also its biggest bug-bear for a control-freak like me.
I watch myriad tutorials on YouTube and try to replicate the wonderful loose light-touch techniques I see online, feeling initially motivated and inspired, but somewhere along the line it all regularly gets lost in translation. It feels to me like I’m painting with will-o-the-wisp water, chasing out-of-control colours careering across the paper, a bit like herding cats.
But still I persevere in the hope that one day I will stop feeling like a beginner so completely out of my depth. I’ll learn to love the way the water flows so unpredictably, stop fretting and fussing over it and worrying it to death, and learn to go with the flow. I’ll learn to lay the paint on the paper cleanly and clearly then leave it alone to do its own thing.
I’ll learn that less is more, let go of any real semblance of control and eagerly embrace whole-heartedly whatever creative outcome will be ❤
I realised it’s been about a week since I posted anything on my blog – sorry about that, just not been in the mood… meanwhile I’m still painting bits and pieces here and there, still learning, still finding it therapeutic, so here are some water-colour poppies in a field just so I can post something… 🙂