Watercolor practice

Watercolor practice - student project

First day.

How I hated this door today :D I see so many problems with it, but I didn’t let myself spend more than roughly an hour on it.

Deep down I know that I should practice more instead of just diving into a painting and trying to survive. :) But somehow you never ”get enough time” or rather basic motivation to do it. I’m honestly very excited about this class :) I hope this will give me my much needed push.

Watercolor practice - image 1 - student project


Day 2

Today I discovered that some of the brushes that I didn't want to use are actually quite fun to work with!

The color scheme inspired this portrait in the corner :)

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It's only Day three and I'm tireeed...

I could see every place where I got tired or distracted in those strokes... 

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Still, here're some portraits that I painted to relax after:

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Here come day 4 through 6!

I have had so much on my plate past couple of days, from us having to move for two weeks to another place while our place is getting repainted to getting a cold.

Day 4 was the hardest for me, strait lines... I had to redo them 3 times. And this is definitely something I should train regularly. You can see me struggling with straight lines in the sketch I did later. Also, I think first two times I tried to jump onto hovering right away, which did not work for me. My hand wobbles even when I rest it. But the third try was quite satisfying even though, obviously, still very wobbly :)

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The day 6 stitches was something to get used to, especially the space between lines.

In any case, this is fun!

And here is a sketch that I did after from a photo I took in Tokyo last year. Teamlab Borderless is a magical place :)

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Day 7

Yay, I made it all the way through to the middle! Today was a little bit easier on me, so I decided to repeat day 3 (straight lines) for the fourth time after I finished the S's. It is definitely getting better!

I was very frustrated with the brush I chose for the S's, it kept ending in the ragged line in spite of everything I was trying... But I decided to ignore it and focus on the curves. I would try repeating this later with another brush.

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Day 8 

Sooo... letters! I have enjoyed the U's a lot, but N's and V's were no fun. I think I just enjoy softer lines more than straight ones.

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Days 9/10

To be honest, I think the day 10 pattern was 70% behind my reasoning to take this course :D It's extremely pleasant. I was looking forward to it so much! These two pieces of paper are probably 20% of what I have actually painted, and I'm still dissatisfied with it. I am missing one brush that I wanted to use for this, and frankly speaking I feel like I just don't have the right brushes at all! I need to go brush shopping, stat.

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Day 11 - Cirrrrcles

Omg, you can definitely tell from the picture I had too much fun with these! Especially with the one-stroke ones. So pretty! Now I know I definitely like curvy forms better than straight lines :D

This one was the last one I did today, but I'm itching to do some more :D

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 Day 12 and 13

As I suspected earlier, the thin circles were sooo tough. Somehow they felt much harder than the organic circles, probably because they require much more control, in the organic ones you can rely on the natural turn of the brush.

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I have been having a very tough week and couldn't paint at all, but I hope that I will get the time today to do the final day and paint the door :D I wonder if I will hate it less :D


Day 14 (comparing results)

Okay, so I finally got to this day and... I have very mixed feelings about this. While I was painting, I was thinking, "Oh no, my first door was so much better". Then I looked at the first one, and it is much more messy, I remembered it wrong in my head :D.

I still like the first one more though. :thinking: My guess is that I was thinking too much about strokes and less about values in the second one. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯It often feels like this when you actually try to train something, you get into thinking about how you're doing things instead of why/what feeling you get from them. So you get temporarily stuck in your own head and it feels like you're getting worse. I have had this happen to me with other things too. You just need to practice and make your body remember through muscle memory, then your head will be free to think about meaning, inspiration, etc. 

So here is my "after" door:

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And here are the before/after side by side:

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Final thoughts

I do think that this class has taught me a lot about my brushes (and how I should get more reliable ones :D) and how my hand works. It was strange to discover how different my hand works in different directions, and how painting something in one direction is smooth, enjoyable, and produces expected results, while the other is painful. And all of this on the simple marks!

It haven't occurred to me before that knowing your brush and your hands is like knowing the specifics about gouache and watercolor techniques, what works best and in what way. It makes sense to know which direction gives you more control, and even if you want to practice both, you might want to choose the best one when you're actually working on the painting.

Artist. Corgi and fox enthusiast