Tentative steps

After mulling the idea over for weeks, or more likely months, I decided to actually do some painting. I already had some watercolours from a failed attempt at painting a few years’ ago. I have done a lot more drawing since then and hoped that the experience would help. In my previous attempts, I had simply added the paint straight onto the paper, whereas this time I drew out the basic shapes of what I was intending to paint. It may not be elegant, and I’m having a few issues with pencil marks, but I feel that I’m improving.

three images showing the progress of a painting of a glass jar of tulips.
First attempt at water colours for 10 years.

My first attempt was a little bunch of tulips in a simple glass jar. It’s not particularly accomplished but if you stand back it looks ok. I made the rookie mistake of attempting to paint pink which is notoriously difficult to get right without buying pink paint. I simply used very watered down red and it will do for me. I also took the flowers and photographed them on a simple surface – I really should have done them from life but I’ll address that in later posts.

8 comments

  1. Oh, I think you did a beautiful job. I just assumed that as an artist, you would be skilled at all manner of painting or drawing, but it makes sense that different mediums present their own challenges. You managed to capture the fluttery quality of the tulip petals.

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    • Hi Regina – thank you for your kind words I do love spring flowers and tulips are just a smile in a vase. There are some transferable skills, like close observation which of course is helpful, but the paint itself behaves quite differently depending on how it is made and what solvent is used. Water colours can ‘pool’ and good watercolourists use this as part of their work. I am a very long way from that but am getting more familiar with the way the paint goes onto the paper. More importantly I am really enjoying the process.

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  2. I think you’ve done really well! The pink worked out nicely, the petals delicate and you’ve really captured the transparency of the water which is difficult to do. If I don’t have pink, sometimes I add a touch of brown or blue to the diluted red to give it a warm, dusky tone or a cooler, mauve one. For me, watercolour painting is really hard as I’m used to the ‘pasting on’ and building up coats of oil paints. I think the quality of paper (which can be moistened beforehand) and the brushes are very important.
    Looking forward to seeing more!!! 👩‍🎨👍

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    • Thank you Gilly. Yes my limited experience of paint has been with oils though it was a very long time ago. It is quite a different technique with water colours so the learning curve is pretty steep at the moment. Compared to coloured pencils its really quick though which is nice. I have just ordered some hot pressed paper which will be good for both paint and pencils and some synthetic brushes – the ones I was gifted are sable and I really don’t like the idea of using the tail hairs of weasels.

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