Five to Try for February, #2 Watercolor Painting

I know, I know…I’m a little late here. For those who are following my adventures in painting as part of my Five to Try creative experiment, you probably noticed I’m a day later than usual with observations from this week’s adventures at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. Much of it was due to my schedule yesterday which prevented me from being on the laptop for even 30 minutes during the day. But it also is a bit symbolic of the pace of this new medium which I learned about and tried for myself this past Wednesday night.

What I took away most from this introduction to watercolors is pace – this one is a SLOW one. It’s simply the nature of the medium. It’s quiet and slow. If I had to assign an animal to each painting medium, I’d say acrylic was a cheetah, oil painting was an elephant and watercolor… a tortoise. Given the potential for quickly destroying your colors already laid out on the page in watercolor, maybe a sloth would be a better choice since my work area felt so messy this time around. Messy even for sloppy me.

Look at this nasty old thing. I wouldn’t want to paint near me. There’s no telling where the paint will go. Like monkeys throwing poop at each other in the zoo, paint was flying everywhere in my little corner but surprisingly I made it home with not one stain to be found on me or my clothing. Miraculous.

Our awesome teacher Gainor Roberts had prepared us the week before with how different this medium would be compared to the other two we focused on during the class, acrylic and oil painting. As a result, I was prepared for the worst. I had thought to myself beforehand, “I struggled with some aspects of acrylic and made a mess of myself with oil. What the heck would I do in the watercolor segment?” Well… I did this…

I don’t know what it is really. I’ve since dubbed it Native American Snuggie. It looks like an old-time Indian Blanket…yeah, sure, that’s it. I meant to paint that. Sure. Whatever you think.

I had brought three lovely pictures as inspiration for my watercolor excursion but once we were introduced to all of the materials, learned about all of the quirks and behaviors of the paints themselves in this environment, I quickly stuffed the pictures back into my purse and realized, tonight I was going to wing it. I would just work up something on the fly and let it rip.

Well, that didn’t quite work out as planned. Not initially at least.

I first started to build a whimsical tribute to my favorite word. WHY?  No, I’m not asking you. That’s the word. I love that word. WHY? Because I like to ask a lot of questions and nothing is truly set in stone. Everything can be defined by responding to the ultimate question WHY?

So I set up my page with a huge capital W and accompanying H and Y down the side. Then tried to figure out how the question mark could encompass them all. Of course, the big question was color. Oh, I know I’ll use green and have it transform into blue. That will look nice, I thought.  And after sketching my letters. I began painting.

Ohmigod. This is hideous. What the heck am I doing?

And with that I quickly blew on the paint to encourage its drying and within minutes flipped over the page and started again.

That is the beauty of this class and has been throughout the entire 6-week program. Our teacher really encouraged us to try things and not be afraid of the results. If it doesn’t work, so be it. Try again. And for this segment in particular, my anxiety walking in the door was quickly appeased by the teacher’s encouragement to just play, be creative, try some designs randomly without setting out to paint a particular object or scene.

I was the only painter who did that this week – everyone else did paint based on another picture or illustration and I must say my classmates did a phenomenal job recreating some of the images that inspired them. Beth was out this week but take a look at some of the great stuff our little group created in this medium that seemed to stump more than a few of us.

I think Bonnie did a  nice job capturing the image in her own style.

And one of the coolest parts of Bonnie’s project. Her artwork also required the use of…ta-da…

Behold, Bonnie’s secret ingredient… Hey, wait a minute!  I know how to use those! She did a great job with this interesting piece.

Jennie too really has a knack for taking a piece and reproducing it very authentically. She didn’t seem too knocked out with this one, but I sure thought she hit it out of the park.

Ellen admitted aloud that she kept looking at the clock because she wasn’t moving as quickly with this medium, but she is off to such a beautiful start. She’s going to be continuing her project next week. I’ll be starting something new. I think possibly the other women are starting new projects, too. No idea what I’ll do. I welcome suggestions.

Our teacher made this lovely little creation on the fly. I want to meet that tree. Love the mood it creates. I may try to mimic that next week slightly with something similar and steal her concept. Thievery’s the greatest form of flattery, right?

At the end of the night, I was veryieved to hear a few of the women really had to work to adjust to this new style of painting, so different than the other two media we had learned about previously. So I wasn’t alone…hurrah!

I can’t believe next week is the final week of our class. This experience has been tremendous and such a wonderful opportunity to explore creative channels that I haven’t tuned into before. I know that I haven’t created any works of art worthy of exhibition anytime soon, but wasn’t the goal. I’m so glad I’ve been given a chance to explore a different side of my imagination and the encouraging and friendly environment between the teachers and the students has been such a nice way to start this creative experiment.

I hope you too will find some way to reach beyond your boundaries this week, even if it’s in some small fashion.

Allow yourself to get inspired today and have an adventurous day.
~CK

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