Watercolor Wed.

Watercolor & Sepia ink w/crow quill nib on Strathmore Windpower Watercolor Pad                                                   Attempt #1

It’s no secret that watercolor is not my thing.  It evades me, it makes me crazy.  There are no backsies in watercolor.  I’ve worked with silk dyes and gutta, and made it work, even though there are no opportunities to fix mistakes with opacities in that medium.  BUT, I can’t seem to make watercolor really work for me:

*I want to take advantage of the energy and spontaneity of watercolor-the flexibility within bounds.

*I’m familiar with all of the cool techniques, and know how to apply them…but..I certainly haven’t mastered them.

*Some of my favorite illustrators wield a watercolor brush with an expertise that I dearly envy.  I want to do some of what they can do.

*In addition, the universe has gifted me with a bulk of watercolor paint and paper. Thank you Frieda and Sue.

So, it’s time.  I’m committing myself to tackling watercolor-sketches only mind you, at least until I leach the watercolor envy out of my system, or run short of supplies, whichever comes first:)

Anybody else share a love/hate with watercolor?             All you watercolorists, help, is welcome:)

Published by elenacaravela

My world is a wonder of visual candy and foreboding shadow shapes vying every waking moment for my full attention.

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  1. I love your watercolour Elena. I particularly like how you have handled the skin tone. I have attempted watercolour a few times but I can never get to grips with it, I find it so frustrating at times to use especially when I have made a mistake and I try to either remove it or cover it up. I also find that I apply way too much paint and then it ends up looking really thick and far from how watercolours should look. Your painting is great and it has that transparency that gives it that delicate and free flowing feel. Great work.

  2. Oh Elena, this is really fantastic. It looks as spontaneous and as fresh as a breeze!
    If summer was a gesture painting, this is it.
    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your “struggles”.

    1. I guess we often want to do what is most challenging to achieve. I’ve got to say that your current photos are setting a most uncomfortable photography standard for me;) They are excellent!

  3. I love this! The skin tone is really good!
    Imho watercolour should be loose and free, but when I’m doing them I tend to control it. I get angry/frustrated realising this so I finish my paintings with drips and splatters. Not exactly art, more like a place to release my emotions. 🙂 I’ve also come to realise that some “mistakes” makes watercolour pretty, but I’m not art-trained so that’s just me.
    I think trying out other mediums/styles once in a while is refreshing, a vacation if you like. You can either extend your vacation or come back home renewed.

    1. Brilliant! “You can either extend your vacation or come back home renewed”. Quite insightful. Thank you! I will certainly keep your comments in mind while I try yet again;)

  4. I love watercolours, but they can be a bit moody. I mostly use gouache, as my aquarelle watercolours just hate my guts, but the gouache ones are a bit more forgiving. I rarely use the standard techniques, instead I go crazy and just paint the way I want to. That usually helps. I understand you frustration, share it at times too, but I think that almost all artists feel that they want to be better at something they consider a weakness. Personally, I don’t think that you should feel any sort of bad feelings towards your watercolour sketch, it’s very pretty and it has a great feeling.

    1. Thank you Sophy. I’ve got this bug to get freer and add a little whimsy perhaps, especially to my children’s illustration, so I’ll try a little more. I much prefer gouache too, but have trouble there as well. I love your phrase..”a bit moody”! They certainly are:)

  5. I love the carefree light touch and the sketchy quality. Beautiful – Charles Reid paints like that and he’s a genius!

  6. I never got the hang of watercolours though I dearly wanted too… I liked the flow and spontaneity and I can see those in your work here. I have to admit my first impression of the figure on the right was of a large(ish) girl scout … the scarf perhaps 😉

  7. Elena, you know there are writers, painters, actors, dancers, musicians out there all echoing similar frustrations. It is not dissimilar from the schoolchild who is good at English but less good in maths. Should he/she devote more attention to maths to remedy the weakness or should more time be given to develop a strength? Within limits I favour the strength option. It is more productive and satisfying to do something really well than to invest disproportionate amounts of time and effort into constantly hitting a glass ceiling. In artistic terms one route is fulfilling, the other frustrating.

  8. I think these are beautiful examples of watercolour works. You’ve used the qualities of the delicate medium very well, my problem with it is that I always use it too thick. I think I’m too tempted to use it like acrylics. I don’t have the patience to build up the layers into an image so I slop it on too thick all at once. Very bad form! These are far more elegant and loose, you should be pleased!

    1. I’m right there with you! Thanks for being so honest about your experience because…ditto;). Thank you BTW, for your lovely compliment. I made this with my teeth clenched:) I’m giving it one last try…

  9. Actually I love watercolour paintings… Once, it was a very hot summer day, I attended an artist studio for watercolour paintings… It was really very hot summer day… everything was drying… But it was a philosophical summer for me these studio works… to control the water with the paint on the paper… or to learn to control them… I remember I enjoyed so much…. But I am the one can’t stay for a long time on the same subject then my writing time was ahead in my days… especially poetry… as now much more photography. Your watercolour painting is so beautiful, I loved these women into the colours and also into the action… the blue dress so nice but the other woman too… Yes I loved and I love watercolour… Thank you dear Elena, love, nia

    1. Nia, thank you! It really is about letting go while controlling. I’d love to see some of your watercolors along with your photos someday. In fact, your photos often appear like a delicate watercolors.

  10. I’m with you on watercolour Elena…it evades me. I think you are underestimating yourself, as I see the energy in this piece, so you are finding your way with it..xx

  11. Both figures and their clothes look really great! Especially the one on the left with the wonderful skin tones and that swingy skirt. I can offer no help but I do love watercolor and watercolor with ink, particularly when there is a mix of fine detail with more abstract shapes.

  12. Your work is beautiful. I love the transparency and I applaud your process and final product. I myself tend to use watercolor in an abstract way allowing the water to flow and carry the pigment. Perhaps I am a coward because I only attempt to control, navigate, or channel the watery pigment loosely. It suites me. However, I really love what can be done with the medium. Thanks for sharing!

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