watercolour cards / yet to be personalised. 

simple bicycle.  pinterest-inspired. 

frankie mag cover inspired 

Beginning is sometimes the hardest part: what will I paint?  How will I paint it?  What if it doesn’t turn out nicely?  My questions are pressed between ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ — if I do paint, I’ll end up with a half-decent watercolour but if I don’t my hour is likely to be unwisely wasted on social media.  But this morning, filled with sun, hot air, freshly-clipped grass, and silly laughter is a watercolour asking to be painted; it is a morning whispering put me on paper and show me to the world.

  I pull out Windsor and Newton watercolour paints, 5 paint brushes and fill a tea cup with lukewarm water. I store paintings, ideas, and images I find on the web in a folder on my macbook. This time I rummage through my folder and decide to paint a watercolour by Inslee; a few words come to mind when I see the painting are fresh, movement, sunshine, breezy, skirt and white.

I begin by evaluating the art:  what is it that gives life to the painting?   The movement in her dress and the red in her cheeks and her arm, slightly bent back.  The positioning of her feet — one in front of another.

 A few tips on getting started in watercolour:

  Preferably somewhere stable — your desk, the kitchen table, propped up on a comfy chair or even a bed with a sturdy tray or book to lean on.  Sometimes I watercolour outside, but the bugs and breezes (and occasionally the sun!) get in the way unless the weather is lovely.  Choose an environment you feel most relaxed in. 

I prefer painting in the morning or mid-afternoon when light is at its peak.  When golden light filters through the window (usually late afternoon), the light appears to change quickly and it is difficult to maintain a steady source of light. If you choose to paint in the evening, I suggest beginning your watercolour using indoor lighting then adding your top coat or finishing touches using natural light. 

Start simply.  A watercolour set (I suggest using one or both of the small sets by Daler and Rowney or Windsor and Newton) and and a few paintbrushes — small, medium, large.  Ink pens give watercolours a ‘finished’ look - they add dimension.  I recommend using a 0.1 (ultra-fine) and/or 0.3 nib.

-- Study:  What in the scene, image, or object you are copying makes you excited?  What is accentuated?  Pick out those things and prepare to emphasise them in your painting.

-- Start with a rough sketch Mark the top and bottom of your painting, and make correct proportions: Is there any symmetry?  Parallel lines?  Sphere shapes?  Add them in.  Squint your eyes and look at what your copying, evaluating it from a distance.  If you glasses, take them off to get a blurry and basic viewing of the picture without all the details.  Begin broadly then dive into the details.

-- Don’t erase yet!  After you are done your rough sketch, begin erasing mistakes and extra lines.  

-- Before you watercolour, take an eraser and lightly erase everything you’ve drawn — just enough so that there are are faint lines for you to follow as you watercolour.  

-- Base coat:  Paint essential, base colours lightly over the paper’s surface or just inside your pencil marks. If you need to, use a damp Kleenex to blot away any excess paint.  Add shadows with a deeper version of colours you use.

-- Final coat; add extra dimensions using shadows and coats of light and dark paint.

-- Finishing touches; consider outlining in ink and adding any small details with your fine paint brush.  

Sometimes I begin painting rather reluctantly, but once I delve into the world called ‘creating’ I don’t stop.  There’s that constant tension between do and don’t — once I break the barrier and just do it, I’m beautifully at ease.  My tip for you today? The more you just do it, the more you paint, the more talented you become. Talent can be built if there is consistency.    So what are you waiting for?  Be artsy!  Go paint! 

watercolour essentials: Daler and Rowney watercolour, 0.1 ink pen, small, medium, large paintbrushes, and eraser. 

Hello friends!  Hope you enjoyed this week's BE project.  You can find my first post on 'simplicity' here.  I'd love to hear from you -- have you used watercolour before?  X