Revival Story

Mr and Mrs  / watercolor / 2015

Mr and Mrs / watercolor / 2015

Let me tell you how I got back into watercolors after a lengthy hiatus.

I was poor. Really, REALLY poor.

Instead of buying gifts, I had the brilliant idea to make everyone something. And not just another of those sad crochet ornaments I’ve made in the past, but something special. My thoughts then drifted over to my dusty art supplies. How about all that watercolor shit you’ve had for years?

Weeks go by, Christmas day arrives, and I had accomplished exactly one watercolor. The lucky recipient was a good friend who had gotten married a few months before and the painting was based off a photo I took of her wedding chairs at the reception. And when I say “based off,” I mean I traced it from a computer screen. I have no shame in admitting that  it made my life so much easier.

Mr and Mrs wedding chairs / photograph / The Artist By Night

So if I was tracing, why did this take so long? For some reason in all the tutorials I was watching, they outlined everything in pen first, which influenced all my early attempts. Drawing after drawing, I kept penning in those outlines and then was not able to figure out why I hated my paintings. Then it hit me — try one without the outlines. 


My next mistake was leaving the pencil lines quite dark, which smudged and blurred once I started slopping on the paint. After that, success! The trick is to erase your pencil lines until you can barely see them and then carefully paint with your nose mere inches from your paper. 

It was a piece of cake. Complicated, finicky cake.