Since I restarted painting I’m having lots of trouble controlling the amount of water on my brush. As a result I’ve noticed my brush strokes are tightening up – I’m over compensating. The cat on the left was Day 4 of the challenge and an attempt to do a soft, loose wash, but I fiddled with it as it dried. Luckily the brush strokes look like fur so I think I got away with it.
Day 5 was a much more complicated subject taking lots of concentration. The background got very messy, again juggling with paint consistency – either too dry giving hard edges, or too wet and bleeding back into other areas. I was much happier with the effect though, suggesting energy and movement.
Wednesday, which was Day 6, was a break from routine as there’s a favourite life drawing venue I visit: a fabulously bohemian bar, where drawing is accompanied by live music and a glass of something nice! I always use graphite but bravely took some brush pens filled with ink to try out, so I could keep the watercolour challenge going. I have to admit I’m not keen on the results, but it’s definitely broadening my horizons!
Yesterday, for Day 7, I picked up something I’d started several months ago as a practice. It was just a very light wash that had dried with clingfilm pressed into it to make some of the angled rock textures. The rocks were fun to paint and I’m very pleased with the sky.
And finally, today was Day 8, which brings us up to date. As I mentioned above, I feel I’ve been tightening up over the past week, getting more fiddly as I struggle with the paint.
So today I decided to deliberately push myself the other way and paint a very soft, wet in wet, wash using a photo of my brother’s fluffy new kitten. I had big ambitions for it to be bold, confident… a single, soft edged wash suggesting the outline of the cat. But the paper didn’t hold up, the sizing simply disappeared as soon as the first wash went on. Everything after that was difficult as the paint just soaked straight into the paper.
I couldn’t give up, it was too late to start something new! So with a lot of patience, a lot of reworking and some opaque white to help recover the eyes, followed by some more working, I got something I was happy with.
Despite all the challenges, I have found something positive – I’ve been reminded not to give up to soon. With watercolours there’s often a stage halfway through where you feel it’s gone horribly wrong. You want to throw the painting in the bin but instead you should walk away and take a break. Often with fresh eyes and some patience you can bring it back to life 🙂 .