I love books in general, but art books rank high on my list these days. Though I've had some of the books you see for a while, in the absence of time and opportunity to travel away from home to take art workshops lately, I've added a few more to my shelves as a way of making sure there is plenty of creative stimulation available for art practice.
I came into the world loving art and drawing, but watercolor was not a medium I was exposed to at a young age. I just admired it greatly. Obviously the desire to create art was re-kindling in me in 1999. My time and energies had been caught up in volunteer writing for professional projects in the years preceding. But as I freed myself from those responsibilities, my urge to return to art strengthened and I signed up for a local "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" workshop.
The class turned out to be a disaster for me, though in hindsight, I'm glad I had this experience. Perhaps because she had run out of suggestions for what I should do next, in the last hour of one of my classes mid-way through the course, I was instructed to create the value studies you see above, varying the placement of dark and light with each repetition. Without any introduction to values and how they are used, I not only failed to understand the point of this exercise, I felt like the child who'd been sent to the corner to do busy work. Needless to say, this was not fun. I came away from the experience so bored and bewildered that I did not finish the classes. I closed my palette, concluded I couldn't do watercolor, and didn't open my palette again for another year.
It is this type of experience, technique before play, that often leads people to believe that watercolor is such a difficult medium. It's not. It's delightful, fun and easy to love!
Next: Reviving my watercolor passion--A Book, A Teacher, and Intuitive Learning
For more on upside-down drawing, visit: The Practice of Seeing
Watch for book reviews of some of the books you see above along with more demonstrations to help you (and me) play with watercolor!