Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tales of Trial and Terror: A Brief Jaunt Into Watercolor.

Back when I made my Batfit goals for 2016, I included some lofty crafty and creative goals, since that seems to be where my happiness resides-- trying and learning new things!

And now I have a bit of a confession... most of them were written on a lark. Except for a couple of those, I didn't really think I'd do many of them... but it felt right good at the time writing them! Reading them over now, it's quite obvious that not a lot of thought went into that list, hehe; I tried making my goals obtainable... but I guess that only works in cheating myself from the mental growth that should occur.

When I think on it some more, this whole experience was comprised of simple little arbitrary decisions made during the moments they arrived, where I reached the next step as it came rather than a planned route, and suddenly I'm about to attend the first class of Watercolor Painting at the Southwest School of Art.

It started in February all the way into the end of March.
When I began the class, I had silly ideas that watercolor was the easiest of painting mediums... boy, did my bubble burst with a vociferous bang in this class. Granted, I was told our instructor used the most difficult methodology, that being wet on wet application; it was, as he said, the only way to get the charm most of us desire of watercolor. 
It technically wasn't my very first exposure to watercolor; I did "play" a bit with wet on dry not long before taking this class... but other than that I haven't touched it in any meaningful way, and certainly not to the extent to paint a full image.
Now after having completed this class, I found his statements were true-- it did make me too comfortable to learn anything of substance.

The reason he chose to teach this to beginners, he said, was to instill proper technique into people that have no basis for comparison and are therefore not "tainted" by "comfortable bad habits". He claims that wet on dry does not allow the water to play the role it needs to, and consequently forces the artist to be afraid of the water and pigment.

He had interesting ideas about watercolor that I have come to understand and agree with, like how so many of us spent so much time fussing over minutiae. He called that being seduced by the details; likely not an original thought, but it was awful poetic and apt. The cure for this was planning, devising, strategizing our next "move".

For all our preparations, nothing could ease the natural stages of creative work-- I guess it never matters what stage of experience you're at, you're never immune to this. This class was as much a fascinating look into the artistic world as it was equally a ride into the psyche of all who dare beckon the call of creative work.
It really is painful, torture... and all of it coming from these little voices in your head throughout the entire process. Sometimes these voices came out audibly during class-- outside, I bet you'd hear all manner of cursing or slamming down of a paint brush, and wonder why the hell are we subjecting ourselves to this mental anguish?!
Then again, it was an art school...

Our instructor was a bounty of information, and we took in what we could, but the information was so much and we had so little time to absorb it and put it into practice; my only regret was that it went by far too quickly. It was just enough to show me a world where I have long been afraid of taking part in, uncovered a knack I didn't think I possibly had, but so swiftly now over that I crave and yearn to develop this thing!

And I think I may do just that, fall classes are just around the corner now...

Thanks for joining in on my tale of trial and terror!


  1. Ahh the pumpkin! I'm rubbish with watercolor but I love the way it looks. I might have to take a class someday myself. :)

    1. Taking a class is well worth it-- I wish I could take one on sewing! Guidance and nurturing is so important to unlocking potential, and getting the most enjoyment from any single skill.

  2. Wow, you seem to have a natural talent I used love paint but was never effective in attempting water colours. I don't have the patients to paint. They're wonderful and I like the pumpkin. I hope you cont posting about your progress.

    1. Why thank you!
      I was quite surprised how easily it came to me; I never believed myself a painter for the longest time. Seems silly to have done that, knowing how much joy this is bringing me for the moment.
      I hope along with you that I will continue! Haha, I am allowing my whim to take me where it pleases. Who knows what I'll be doing next

  3. YES TO ALL OF THIS. As an art school drop out -- I started my academic career studying illustration and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts, NYC -- YES TO ALL OF THIS. Art is the most frustrating, horrific, wonderful, mind-blowing, awesome, terrible experience ever. I dropped out because I was at SVA when it was a "good ol' boys" school with 3 girls to every 10 guys. I was told that I should go to the Fashion Institute of Tech because "you're a girl and that's where you belong." sigh. I quickly transferred my art credits to Hunter and the rest is history.

    Watercolor is a bitch, but once you get the hang of it! WHOA! You have the talent and patience ... and yes, yell in class, bang things down, make a fuss. I think we do that to let the muses know that we're ready for them ... or that we're ready to kill someone. HA! Good luck and good job.

    1. Scary and wonderful world-- I can definitely understand the allure.
      I wish I played with traditional mediums more in the past, who knows what this simple joy could have grown into. Ah well, the present is as good a time as any!

  4. Oh wow. You are creative on so many different levels, I can only admire you and say: Wow!

  5. That's pretty cool that you got to take a painting class! Your paintings turned out lovely!

  6. Watercolour is frustrating but it looks like the class was beneficial, those pictures look fabulous!


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