Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens.
Those who follow me on Instagram and other social media will know this already, but lately I have developed a passion for watercolors. It’s been a lot of fun to paint cards, nature, and portraits.
This is seems funny to me because I used to hate watercolors and steered clear of them. Why? Because of all the many failed attempt at using them. In the past it rarely worked out for me. I did paint two painting of illustration style mice and those turned out OK but I still wasn’t confident using watercolors. The paintings tended to be blurry, I couldn’t capture the details I wanted to, the color was lacking, the paper peeled, it dried too fast etc. I admit it, I gave up. But I can be a very determined person and I don’t like admitting defeat so it kept bothering me. During Inktober I was working on a little comic strip that I wanted to be colored so I once again got out the paints and sat down to give it another try. And it still wasn’t pretty but I kept at it and gradually I’ve become more comfortable with using watercolors and they have actually become one of my favorite mediums!
What was the change? I think one thing I noticed that helped was that each time I enjoyed painting with watercolors I was that painting something I enjoyed. Whenever you force yourself to do something you don’t truly enjoy, it never turns out as well as something that makes you happy. Try different things and find what fills your soul, not what drains it.
Do what you enjoy.
Second, is practice. I know that’s a word that is used a lot but it’s true. Practice is the key to improving anything. It just takes doing it, over and over. “Talent” doesn’t happen over night as some may believe. It may seem like you will never get to the level of skill that you want but if you practice even just a little every day you may be surprised of how much you improve. Just take your time, keep at it and don’t let the mistakes discourage you.
Practice makes perfect. (Unless you’re a perfectionist, then let’s say “practice makes possible.” ^_~)
Speaking of discouragement, don’t give up! I wish I had given watercolors a fair go and hadn’t given up those years ago. I could have had fun painting and improving my watercolors all this time. But there’s no sense in dwelling on that. If you only dwell on your mistakes you will never see what you have accomplished. I am still not any great painter and I make many mistakes, but I will not again let that stop me from moving forward in my artwork. And I hope you won’t let them hold you back as well.
Don’t give up!
Quality supplies. I’m not saying you need to go out and spend all your savings on top dollar watercolors but I do think having decent supplies is important. Bad art supplies can be the different between a disaster and a masterpiece. Especially with bad watercolor paper, I have found that your paper will be constantly working against you. It will make learning difficult and more frustrating than it needs to be. I’m by far no expert but I will share with you some supplies that have worked well for a beginner like me, without breaking the bank.
Size 12 Golden Taklon Round Brush
This brush has a wide base with a fine point which makes it very versatile. You could paint an entire painting with this one brush.
Cotman Water Colours Pocket Plus – 12 Half Pans
I just got this set for Christmas and I love it. The Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours are what I like to call “the low-end of the high-end paints.” They not top of the line but they are a bit pricier. I think they are worth it because they are highly pigmented, a little goes a long ways, so they are going to last me a long time.
I think one of the reasons watercolors is considered the hardest paint medium is because you can’t start painting casually. Since it dries fast you have to just jump in there and don’t hesitate, which in art can be a hard thing to do especially if you’re a perfectionist like me. I think that’s what also challenges me though. It doesn’t give me as much time to over think it. Once I start, I have to just keeping going and face my fears. Fear of failure is, I think, a common trait among artists. Fear is normal but don’t let it stop you. ♥
If you need some more motivation, here’s some quotes I’ve compiled:
“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Eriksson
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – Unknown
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar (This quote cracks me up.)
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt ♥
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Here is a watercolor process video of one of my recent paintings. It’s not much of a tutorial but I did include a few tips here in there. As usual, there was no real thought put into her at first but rather her character developed as I drew/painted. Art is free to interpretation so this is only my impression of her. To me, she’s just a girl working through life, doing the best she can. Maybe she has to work hard, things are rough, life is complicated. But here in this moment she chose to stop, have a seat, and just take a moment to look at the stars.
Life can easily sweep us into a whirlwind of stress and chaos. But no matter how busy we may be we need to remember to stop what we’re doing, breath, look up to the heavens and know that God is in control and He is by our side.
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.”
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength…”
Isaiah 40: 26, 28-31
Sketches, woodworking, photography, writing; what is your passion? Does fear hold you back from pursuing your passions?