Here is another watercolor birthday card. This time instead of trying to achieve a realistic look (which I’m obviously not good at), I decided to go for something more relaxed. And you know what? I really enjoyed it!
Last night after posting my entry for the 30 in 30, I scanned the hundreds of other thumbnails representing that day’s accomplishments. Some of the other artists are quite accomplished, and it shows. While others, like me, have chosen to try something new, taking this challenge at face value. I admire their courage, and I draw from it.
A few thumbnails demanded a closer look, so I clicked on them to see where they would take me. I am always intrigued by other people’s websites, blogs, online stores, etc. People are so creative!
Then I came across a photo linked to @janajennings’ Instagram page. It was a “small sketchbook painting” in watercolor, labeled “Texas Bluebonnet” in the top left corner. How long did it take this artist to paint the picture? How many similar paintings has she done? It looks so nice and yet so simple. How many colors did she use? Just a few, it looks like….
I wonder if I could do it….
Would she mind? “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Hopefully that’s the way she’ll feel about it. And besides, the watercolor instructor at the art gallery a couple weeks ago said that when he was beginning watercolor, he used to practice by copying other artists.
My painting was done for the day, but I wanted to try again, immediately. So out came another blank greeting card, taped to my drawing board, and I was ready to go. I gathered my yellow, two greens, and two blues. I wanted to use an oil-based pen for the lines, to be sure they wouldn’t run when I applied water later, but the tip was too wide for this application, so I took a chance on my 0.3 Micron.
With @janajennings’ photo on the screen in front of me, first I drew out the lines in pencil, then inked them in. When the ink was dry, I ran the eraser over all, to pick up any visible pencil marks. Next, I created a palette by using my watercolor pencils to color circles on a scrap piece of paper. Then one by one, I picked up the colors from the circles with a round #8 brush and added color to my drawing while looking over my shoulder at the original painting for reference. The ink threatened to bleed just a little bit, but for the most part it stayed right where I wanted it.
Two ruled pencil lines guided my letters as I free-handed the greeting onto the card with the same 0.3 Micron pen. Then I went back to add some thickness for a bit of a calligraphic appearance, then erased the penciled lines. If I were making these to sell, I would have practiced the lettering on scrap paper beforehand. I’ve done a lot of lettering, but not lately, and I realized that I am a bit rusty.
All in all, I think I’ve found my watercolor niche. Realism works for me in acrylics and color pencil; but when it comes to watercolor, I think I’ll be going with this sketch-type technique. I was about ready to quit altogether until I found and reproduced this picture. Now I’m all the more glad to be a part of the challenge.