Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Studies
Watercolor painting sketchbook studies of African violets became my meditation last week. I snapped a photo of a pink African violet in my kitchen – half in sunlight and half in shadow. I thought the image would be a good test of my new etchr labs watercolor sketchbook. (It’s good.)
Minimalist Watercolor Painting Set Up
I folded the violets image (printed on plain paper), and tucked it into the sketchbook to be ready for after-dinner sketch time on the couch. Painting small makes it easier to sit anywhere in the house or yard to make art. I worked on this study in mini sessions through the week, by painting on the couch, at the kitchen counter, and in a chair outside in the sun. You do that too, right?
Talk Yourself Into Making Art
Try not to invent obstacles to your art making time. If you think about making art, but the idea gets squished with thoughts like: My house is messy. I have no room to make art. I need better supplies to sketch and paint. My watercolors aren’t the right quality/color/brand. Pay attention to what you’re telling yourself. Try a bit of thought-rearranging, to gift yourself just two hours of painting time. All your other To-Do’s will wait for you. I promise. 🙂
Watercolor Painting Instructions
Snap a photo of a flower. Print it on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Grab a watercolor sketchbook, a pencil, a ruler (if you use the grid method), a brush, a watercolor palette, a cup of water, a paper towel and a chair. Eight items that fit in your hand, and a chair.
That’s all you need to make something. Art is a salve. It’s the compass at our helms, the air in our sails and the keel on our boats. Give yourself permission to dive into the comfort of creativity on a regular basis. Especially in crazy times.
Though still very far from being perfect girls, each was slowly learning, in her own way, one of the three lessons all are the better for knowing – that cheerfulness can change misfortune into love and friends; that in ordering one’s self aright one helps others to do the same; and that the power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.Louisa May Alcott
No African Violets? No Problem…
If you’re in a blooming season outside, grab your phone or a camera and go for a walk. You can read this post about ideas for watercolor paintings, with tips on lighting and angles. Take photos of single flowers, in the sun, with no flash, and close up. If the flowers are yours, snip a bouquet – including some fun leaves – and bring them in for life studies in watercolor.
Paint a Watercolor Soon
I hope you paint something soon, my friend. Get yourself sketching, listing ideas, and scribbling compositions in a sketchpad today. Pick up the phone to chat with art friends, and keep yourself connected to the people who encourage the artist in you. We’re going through this together. Remember all those moments when we wished for more time? Try hard not to squander this gift. This craziness also includes pockets of free time. Scoop it up.
- If you don’t like using your own images as watercolor painting fodder, you can use photographs taken by others who’ve given permission to paint from their images. Take a look at Free Reference Photos for Artists on Facebook. Also see the Paint My Photo site.
- Painter Alpay Efe is sharing process videos and encouragement on his Instagram and YouTube accounts. This week’s demonstration of a woman in profile with a flower in her hair is wonderful.
- We all need to hear that drawing is good, even if you suck at it, and especially if you’re drawing with your kids.
- FTD, the folks who sell and deliver fresh flowers, would like to encourage you to paint watercolors of flowers. They published a step by step guide here.
Artists all over the internet are doing a fantastic job of using social media during this Great Pause.
It’s quite remarkable – and poignant – to feel the generosity of the creative community out there. These folks are part of our tribe, you know? Be sure to visit and support them! And then make something of your own, and share it too!
Thanks for stopping in. I’ll see you in the next ost –
We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.Steven Pressfield