Embrace Change

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Embrace ChangeWrMrk

Embrace Grace – Watercolor

Fall, a time when change is in the air!

We are beginning to experience cooler, foggier mornings, and the leaves are drying and turning ever so slightly in colors.  Before I know it there will be a mass of bright yellows and reds, followed by the cool months and colors of Winter.  Did I just hear a groan?

I get it, we seem to have a favorite Season.  I’m drawn to Spring.  However, the Fall Season is also beautiful to me because I see the beauty in changes.  When I take the time to look at the beauty around me, I can appreciate the many colors and enjoy the Season as I better appreciate God’s love displayed for us.  I can see the colors of the trees singing for joy!

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96:11, 12

For the past year or so, I’ve been pondering, writing and marinating on how our creative desires can tap into our personal seasons.  Because in each of our lives, we go through many seasons.  Some are more beautiful than others to us.  But, if we look at each one closely, we will be able to find some beauty in each.  That is where we struggle sometimes, finding that beauty.  Maybe, I’m just talking to myself here, but I don’t think I’m alone in this.

We connect with our emotions in different ways.  It can be smells, sounds, something we see, or hear.  How does this relate to painting watercolors and life?  Watercolors has enabled me to creatively tap into emotions via sight.  Whether I’m in the process of painting, or looking at the finished painting,  I connect again with the love and memory associated with the subject.  It enables me to connect again with the good, the love in our lives, and hopefully the viewer also feels that connection.

My journey in creativity began at an early age.  You would probably best have described me as a dreamer.  This deep appreciation for handmade things I saw demonstrated by many relatives.  My favorite class in school was Art.  While I may have wished to go on to an Art School, that was not an option for my family, and so throughout my life seasons,  I would try to learn or create; whether painting, drawing, music, knitting, crocheting, wood working, miniature building, etc.  When I worked in a business setting, I would try to tap into creativity via writing or computer projects.  (Focus, Denise, we’re talking about watercolors.)  It was after a 30 year hiatus in painting that I picked up a paint brush and started painting again.  My husband’s Christmas gift of watercolor classes while we lived in South Carolina taught by Barbie Mathis awakened the desire to paint again.

A lot can change in 30 years, lol.  The watercolor paints, brushes and paper were all different.  It was a blessing for me to have that season with Barbie and my classmates.  I learned something from each one.  When we needed to move from that State and into a more remote area,  I continued researching different watercolor artists online to experiment with different paints and techniques.  Over the years, we’ve moved again, and I continue to learn, grow, and benefit from each season of change.

One thing I’ve learned along the way is, you creatively need to be yourself.  You need to learn your style.  Any and all your growing experiences count.  What works for one artist doesn’t mean it will work for you.  All that experimenting, that struggle, that growth is taking you towards learning your style.  Plus, don’t be afraid to define your own style name.  Remember you are unique.

One of the hazards of social media is it can sometimes become just a highlight reel.  We see just the good stuff, and easily compare ourselves.  Maybe, I’m the only one who can easily focus on the highlights.  Maybe, that’s just my flaw.  Maybe, but I don’t think I’m alone here.

Social media can be a great place to see new things to try.  A great avenue to find new products, new techniques, or artists to discover.  It can also be a great place to find your community of support.  It is a great place to share stories of struggles, growth and learning.  That’s our journey.  Nobody’s perfect,  but there are some days I need to remind myself of that fact.  It might be a day when I’m trying something new that just doesn’t seem to be going the way I’ve envisioned.  That doesn’t devalue what I’m learning.  Maybe you’ve felt that way too.  And, while I’m confessing stuff here, there are even times that I need to reevaluate accounts that I follow on social media, because I just can’t seem to get a handle on balance in that particular moment.  So, if I’m not being uplifted, or am not learning or growing from that account, then I take a break for a while.  Anyone else do this?

All this being said, it is my desire that this place becomes a safe landing place where we can share our stories, because nobody gets to where they are by just telling only the good stuff.  So, please be patient with me as I process changes for my website, and my social media accounts to best reflect not only my story, but my desire for how we can help each other.

Exactly how this work out with blog posts, art tips and sharing work –  I wish I could give you all those answers.  I’d like to give you a creatively detailed plan.  That’s how my mind works.  I’m learning, sometimes you just have to trust the process.  Isn’t that how watercolors work too?  Isn’t that what we need to do?  Isn’t that usually how our journey goes? We want all the answers, we don’t know all the answers, sometimes we have to wait for the answers.  Waiting.  Seems like I struggle the most with the season of waiting.  Maybe that is why I repeat it.

Watercolors are beautiful, they can be unpredictable, and learning to see colors emerge is fascinating!  I’m not a professional at this, I’m just learning, I’m growing and most of the time I’m loving this ride.  My thoughts and ramblings can be a run of watercolors in a puddle of water.  Hopefully,  you can will find value in joining me in this journey because you are like your own uniquely designed watercolor painting.  You have your own seasons of colors, journey and style.  Appreciate and value it.   Because you are wonderful! You are loved.

Look around, see the beauty.  See the colors, see the wonders.

Blessings,

Denise

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13,14

 

 

 

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Paper, paper, paper – (not to be confused with location, location location)

When beginning to paint in watercolor you might be limited by choices of watercolor supplies available to you, or be overwhelmed by the choices depending on where you shop or live (I’m speaking from experience here).

Early on I got some great advice from a talented watercolor instructor to use the best supplies that I could afford.

I did a great job on my paints and brushes, however, I needed to do some adjusting on my paper.  I’m so glad I did!

For my watercolor paper when I first started I went to my local craft supply store and picked up a packet of 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper.  I have tried two different brands over the years just to compare quality.

Paper, paper, paper

If I had to give a tip for watercolor painting it would be choose your paper wisely.

Followed closely by your paints, brushes, etc.  I just had to add that.  They are so important too in quality.  I couldn’t help myself.  Sigh.

My all time favorite paper to paint on is Fabriano 300 lb cold pressed.  I’ve painted on their 140 and 300 lb.  I still prefer the 300 lb the best.

I started a little painting exercise this afternoon on both a store brand 140 lb paper and my favorite 300 lb paper.  I used the same paint colors, washes, and method of laying down the paint.  I wanted you to see how just using the different quality of paper can change the overall painting.  I won’t be finishing the store paper one btw.   🙂

Painting in watercolor is exciting and surprising when the color moves and travels across the paper the way it is supposed to.  If you are having trouble or maybe wondering about a painting, take a look at your supplies.  Especially your watercolor paper.  Maybe you might want to try a new one!

I’m always looking at what other artists are doing and what paints and supplies they use.  That’s what sparks the creative juices!

What tip would you give someone starting out in watercolor?  Or, if you are just starting, what is something that you are wondering about?

Comment below on the blog, or if you are following me on Facebook, add a comment there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Denise

 

 

Experimenting, habits and results

Had fun experimenting with this last painting.  Learned a few things that I will try again, and also realized that I am tied in many ways to some particular ways of doing things.

For the most part I was able to keep painting with larger brushes in a loose manner.  Out of habit I did pick up some small brushes, however, I sort of forced myself to go back to the larger ones as this was an exercise to try new things.

Usually I tape my watercolor paper around the edges to hold it to the board, however, this time I tried something different.  I had watched how another watercolor artist taped their paper on the backside in a way to prevent buckling and as a means to paint to the edge of the paper.  This worked well, and I may use this on different occasions, depending on the painting.

Since I had been painting on the smaller scale, this painting was painted on a half sheet of watercolor paper to again do something different.  What I did not think about prior to painting however, was how I was going to finish it.

Originally, I was thinking of applying the watercolor to a canvas board and then finishing it.  I’ll have to leave that for another painting, as this half sheet is 15 x 22 overall, and will not work for either 16×20 or 11×14.  These are the things you learn.  I’ll keep thinking about options though.

My usual habit of sitting with a painting and mulling over it prevailed.  I’m not sure how many times I went back and painted a few layers of colors over different areas in different days.  Some days I would be out for a walk and see a certain color in foliage and think, that is the color I need to add in that particular area.  Or, I’d walk by the painting and think I need to darken a shadow here or there.  I debated things in my head, or out loud to the cats if I’m being honest.  🙂  In the end, you need to decide if you are happy with the journey the painting has taken you and put the brush down and enjoy the results.

Here it is, ready to come off the board.

Happy painting everyone!

2016-08-08 15.53.05-2

Stepping Out Of Comfort Zones

Sometimes we get stuck doing things the same way. That can have pros and cons. While there are certain things that need to be done a certain way to produce the same result each time, there are also times when one can experiment to see what develops.  Especially when you want to spark some creative juices. 

You might remember me mention the gift of watercolor classes years ago from my husband that reignited my painting.  Last week I was thinking about that class and remembering some things. Two things in particular: 

  • Barbie, the instructor, telling us to paint on a larger scale
  • Barbara, a fellow classmate, saying “it’s only paper” when  she wouldn’t be especially fond of her project, but would quickly start another painting ready to try new things

I was thinking about this because I was trying to decide what I wanted to paint. I just felt stuck. I thought I knew what I wanted to paint, however, I didn’t want to go about it the same way. 

Lately I’ve be painting smaller paintings. I can finish one faster (if I’m not my own worse critic and  become a perfectionist about it) and can move on to the next project, as the size allows to have multiple projects started at once. 

Usually I spend an hour or so getting a sketch on the paper prior to painting, depending on the size of the painting. I’ve been known to take longer.  I also spend time thinking about the colors I want to use and write them down in a notebook so I don’t forget for the painting.   If there is a painting that I previously did that I think I might like to use similar colors, I will go back and look at my notes from that painting.  All this takes time, and thought.  

Soooo, all that being said. I decided to switch it up and let you in on how it’s going. 

I decided to paint on a half sheet paper (15×22), hardly sketch at all (spent 5 minutes), tape paper in a different way (back instead of edges) and paint as loosely as possible. 

The first wash of color is always the stage that is the ugliest and ackward. You just have to remember this is a work in progress, tell yourself that over and over, and push on. 


After it dries and you can add a little more color you start to feel the painting emerge. 


Since the painting is at this point, and I’m waiting for it to dry some, I thought I’d post some pictures and let you know what is happening at the Studio. I’ll do my best to keep you posted with pictures along the way. 

Thanks for stopping by!