Rudbekia in Watercolour

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… 🙂

Like Herding Cats

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 ❤

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Beginner

Poppies in a Field

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… 🙂

Abstract Bouquet

This one was such fun to do – it’s just random blobs of colour dropped in wet-on-wet, then I’ve pressed some scrunched-up plastic food wrap onto the paper and left it to dry in place. Once you lift it off it makes a lovely variable texture – you really don’t know what you’re going to get until it’s dry, so it’s still creative but rather more out of your control than you might like! Once it was done, this one looked to me like an abstract bouquet of flowers, so I’ve decided that’s what it is 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Variable

Negative Painting

My first attempt at negative painting – where you paint the darker background around the light-coloured main subject, leaving the white paper showing through, so creating a negative space. With water-colours you can’t really paint white on top of a darker colour, so my understanding is that this is the main way of achieving white in a flower. My focus right now is on playing around with exploring different texture effects, so I’ve mottled the background using grains of table salt dropped into a damp wash 🙂

Light Touch Coastal Scene

Trying out a more delicate touch today on a water-colour coastal scene, starting off with some wax resist grasses to lighten the overall effect – I’m quite happy with the general feel of it now it’s dried, it’s certainly not nearly as ‘heavy’ a covering of pigment on paper as I’ve been painting with recently so it feels a little bit pale and insipid… But then again, maybe that weathered washed-out-ness is perfectly appropriate for a soft sea-scape?

Word of the Day: Coastal


Why am I struggling so much with getting to grips with painting right now?

Partly because my head says ‘paint what you see’ and my heart says ‘paint what you feel’ but so far together they give me such conflicting messages I don’t quite know which way to turn. So I try to paint what I see – simplified, of course – and then add some feeling to it afterwards, which doesn’t always work out the way I want it. Or I paint what I feel and then try to make it look more realistic afterwards, which also doesn’t quite work it the way I want it? And as a result both options often end up looking over-painted, sitting heavy and dull on the paper, neither quite one thing nor the other…

Why can’t I just learn to get the balance right in a way that both looks OK, but also feels OK to me?

Why don’t I just keep on trying, and see what creates itself out of my confusion?

Yeah, I guess that’s what I’ll do… I’ll just keep on trying 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Why