Monday, August 15, 2011

Forever A Student

I think I will forever be a student.  I love to learn, explore, venture past the edge of what I know, into the fresh and new.  It's exhilerating.  It expands my world and brings me joy and laughter.
This is how I feel about watercolor, creating gourd art, about watching and learning about birds and other favorite nature subjects, and about life. Creativity comes from a deep place and it can be tapped by many different activities. Eventually, they all come together in a compelling desire to create. I want to have plenty of choices at my finger tips when I make art and write, choices available from my mental library, so I can snatch anyone of them and use them at the moment I feel inspired.
This is what makes practice so valuable. Practice is play time, an unfettered chance to explore, exercise curiosity, try something new without knowing how it will turn out. The benefits? Using current skills and pushing beyond them, feeling your way through a decision, tapping your senses for help, using your intuitive abilities, and opening up to greet whatever you learn--all of these get exercised when you try something new! This is great for the soul, great for building courage, and great for having fun! When the results are disappointing, you gain a sense of what to do differently (the value of mistakes), and when something turns out beautifully, it's exhilarating. You expand your wings and your world enlarges.
After reading Jean Haines' book How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour, I wanted to give her suggestions a try. I was drawn to the book because of the boldness and movement of her style. What you see here is an exercise from her blog, a monthly challenge. The August challenge was to paint a shell (click on the link to see the image on Jean's blog).

Below, you see the point at which I was thinking this is a mess! When I started adding shape and shading to the shell, I ran into new challenges. But I kept going and used more contrast. Scroll to the top again to see the finished study.
I initially worked without sketching, a big challenge for me. I love to draw. But it is also clear to me that when I sketch, I naturally limit myself by trying to "obey" the lines. It's like coloring inside the lines as a child and loosing your expressive freedom. Watercolor doesn't like to behave that way. It likes to move. Learning about that movement and keeping it in mind as you go is a great way to get to know the medium. It's also a great way to learn more about yourself. How do you work your way through obstacles?

"Painting the light" that is reflected on and around a subject is a great exercise to challenge your ability to see light and to express it on paper. As I was painting this shell I thought of many other ways I could approach the subject and the light.

Links and Resources:

Visit my review of Colour and Light on this blog.
How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour by Jean Haines is available online at Amazon with the "look inside" feature.
Also be sure and visit Jean's blog:  Watercolours with Life, to learn more about her products, workshops and enjoy seeing more of her painting activities.

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Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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