It’s been a year since I started playing with watercolors. Yesterday I spent hours maniacally going through two drawers of papers and files to get them all organized and cleaned out. I came across a folder full of old watercolor paintings from when I first started learning. I’m so glad that I kept them!
Last summer I completely randomly decided to start painting. I was in need of a break from clay and figured painting would be a fun alternative. I had been admiring watercolor artists on instagram and really wanted to try. The first few times playing with watercolor brought back all those old frustrated feelings. Those issues I’d had as a kid trying to paint with watercolor, trying to control an uncontrollable medium.
So, instead of giving up immediately, I decided to learn. I gave myself a year to study this new subject and if I still felt frustrated with it, I could easily try something new. But it didn’t even take a year. I was hooked after a week, and haven’t turned back.
This year with watercolor has made for lots of failures, mistakes, successes, and endless growth. I watched hundreds of videos on youtube and skillshare to pick up new techniques. I tried things on my own. I learned a ton.
I also invested in some new art supplies. I played with the supplies I had for a whole year before buying something new, because I wanted to make sure this wasn’t just a fad hobby.
This week I finally invested in Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolors as well as some beautiful new Black Velvet Watercolor brushes. This has made such a huge difference in my work, but I’m also really glad I waited. It would have been a waste to get really nice supplies a year ago. I was still treating my supplies like garbage back then.
I tried out the new supplies to re-create a painting I did a year ago of pea pods. I’m astounded at the difference. The first painting was made with mi Micron pens for the sketch and Dr. Ph. Martin’s watercolor for the paint. I still adore this little painting, especially the vibrancy of the colors, but I clearly had some trouble with adding value and depth. I used only the wet on wet technique to paint these peas, which I still believe is beautiful, but I’ve since learned to use it in combination with layering and wet on dry to create a whole different look.
The peas I painted this week have a whole different look. For these pease I used the new Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor, and my trusty Micron pens for the original sketch. I layered the paint, letting it dry in between layers to create some depth. I also added a fun background, a last minute addition, that I really love.
Looking at these two paintings side by side, I’m so happy with my personal growth as an artist in a year. I’ll be curious to try this again next summer and see if my style and skills have evolved again.
If you’re learning a new artistic medium, be sure to keep your first works, you’ll be glad you did when you can look back and see your progress!