New Skills: Watercolor

Something I have wanted to do for a long time is learn how to paint. At this point in my life, I am particularly drawn to the ethereal aesthetic properties of watercolor. There is something moving about it. Perhaps it’s the way the colors effortlessly flow across the page before stopping to collect themselves towards towards the bottom? The colors have minds and messages of their own – and those messages will be delivered.

I also like the idea of having original works of art…even if I have to paint them myself.

Now, I am certainly not the expert – as you can plainly see from my first attempts below – but I have learned something new with piece.

To begin this endevor, I had to purchase some supplies. I opted to buy a set. The set included ten tubes of watercolor paint, a #6 round brush, and a small mixing tray. In addition to the set, I purchased a #000 brush (for fine lines), a 1/4 inch square tip brush, and 12 sheets of 140 lb. paper.


Project One: Laurel, Linden, Hyacinth

I have been absolutely obsessed with creating something to represent Jamesdotter. My middle sister, Lindsey, inspired my when she asked me to make a linden tree for her using my super-awesome logo making skills. This got me thinking of ways to create something that would include all of my sisters.

I knew I would use the laurel branch for myself & use the linden tree for Lindsey – but I was completely stumped on what to use to represent my youngest sister, Jacey. As far as I’m concerned, the name Jacey was made up by parents using the first letter of each of their names…J & C – something I realized when I was 20 after I saw a “J & C” with a heart around it in the sand during a family beach vacation.

Everything changed when I casually mentioned this idea to my mom. She told me that the hyacinth was the flower that represented Jacey’s name. I immediately did a web search on the flower & instantly became excited because the flower is so beautiful (side note: I planted some in my front yard after discovering them…due spring 2014). The below image was my first attempt at painting the three icons.

My favorite, by far, is the linden tree.


Project Two: Bringing Laurel, Linden, Hyacinth together

After my first attempt, I decided to watch a couple of tutorials on YouTube. Some things that I learned include: dry brush technique (using watercolor on a dry canvas), wet brush technique (using watercolor on a wet canvas), and that using pure black paint is frowned upon in watercolor. Instead, if you need to use some type of black in a painting, it’s better to mix equal amounts of colors from opposite sides of the color wheel…red & green, blue & orange, yellow & violet.

I really like the look of a laurel wreath and wanted to incorporate this into the design. Below is the final project…and I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.


Project Three: Portrait

Project three wasn’t planned. It happened on the back of a piece of practice paper with left over watercolors from project two. The paint is so expensive. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. Needless to say, my portrait work could stand some improvement, but I had a good time taking a stab at it. My sister pointed out that she has a mustache and it evokes memories of “Old Greg” for another one of my friends. I, personally, think there is something mysterious about her. Maybe the next Mona Lisa?


Project Four: Portrait

After project three, I felt a strong need to learn how to do a more natural flesh tone. I again took to the internet for advice and decided the best way to approach this was using a very diluted mix of two colors: permanent rose & raw sienna. The original inspiration for the piece was a photo of my daughter taken at my sisters wedding over the summer, but my lack of knowledge on how to paint natural looking hair and expressions led to the painting you see below. Still good, – but very novice. That said, there is something very peaceful about her. Maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t have any fine lines or wrinkles. Only someone completely at peace could achieve that look.