it saddens me that so many people are so creatively blocked.
this is really a telling-off post, so if you are a bit delicate better go and read something else.
Many people come to my workshops and classes and are totally soul destroyed that their painting hasn't worked out.
How do you think i feel when i paint a clunker and have nothing to sell?? how do I put food on the table then McDuff? mamma mia!! What happens when I paint something really fab and it still doesn't sell?? mamma-flipping mia!!
Students invest heavily in a one day workshop and expect to come out with a masterpiece, or they say "I'll see how the day goes and if I paint something really good then I will come to your classes". Erk - hello?
They make up all these weird rules, goals and stories that are really just blocking their creativity and maybe even their lives.
Come on people, time to straighten up - life's not meant to be easy, I'll bet you don't expect to play chopin if you haven't played the piano before. So why is this any different?
I discovered why this morning, and that's why I am sad. I am sad because then you don't have to put any effort in and if you don't put effort in you don't have to face the reality that maybe you are not as creative as you thought you wanted to be.
The truth is, creativity takes effort and hard work - paintings, sculptures, poems don't just miracle themselves. A true artist works at their skill, develops their ideas, studies and thinks, reworks when things go pear-shaped: creativity takes intellect, creativity takes guts. Creatives are disciplined and have thick skin.
I'm sad you are too scared to have a go.
I'm sad you are too scared to work at it in case you fail.
I challenge you to be kind to yourself and have a go and fail and pick yourself and have another go!!
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Watercolour for Beginners - Auckland New Zealand
Weekly Classes - Auckland New Zealand
En Plein Air - One Day Workshops
Thrilled to say Auckland Viaduct studio greys has been awarded 1st prize by Watercolour New Zealand and Gordon Harris Art Supplies.
I had painted the same subject en plein air the previous day and was dissatisfied with the result, I was, however, inspired to create the scene with a new composition and a different mix of greys.
As I am a heavy handed painter and struggle with light values and greys, more practice required!!
I started with a loose thumbnail value sketch, then applied a loose simplified sketch to my watercolour paper.
Painting in an en plein air style ie, top down, I started with varying mixes of greys (phthalocyanine blue, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna); warmer hues gradating into cooler and sometimes painting with clean water, all this around planned whites.
Once the shine had left the paper I splashed in some some light value spatter and continued to paint stronger washes of colour - that is, less water more paint with each successive shape created. Parts of the “office” and fishing boat were painted with colour straight from the tube. I painted in some dark people and also scrubbed out some lighter value shapes.
The paper was still quite damp which allowed me the freedom of soft edges and more spatter. I also started to add accents of raw sienna, cerulean blue and splashes of white gouache.
I get totally absorbed in negative painting - the worse you do it the better, some soft edges, plus some bleeding - squirting water and when close to dry, some final hard edges. I added some calligraphy marks to seal the deal.
For international and local workshops and classes www.amandabrett.net
ciao cari amici xx
The cool thing about Watercolour is that it is mostly not too difficult to fix.
I know, I know, everyone says how it is the most difficult medium but truthfully, the myth sayers are the ones who have given up.
The main issue most beginners in watercolour painting have is determining what the problem actually is!!
Sometimes there actually isn't a problem but we've got to that dreadful middle stage and don't know what to do next. If you definitely have an issue to solve, read on McDuff!!
If you decide the composition or design is a problem, redraw the corrected composition on spare paper and re-work the improved version into the painting. Yes - that's right paint over it, you might need more paint!
Could you draw/paint it better? Practice drawing the shape you require on spare paper, then practice painting the shape/colours etc on some spare watercolour paper. Wet the offending area, sponge out problem shape/area carefully and re-draw and paint.
A shape is not quite right - I've solved this problem in my paintings in 6 or 7 different ways. Here's a couple you can try (1) wedge a dark tone next to the problem area correcting the shape, (2) stencil lift to correct the shape or (3) soften an offending edge with a damp sponge.
What watercolour problems cannot be fixed? The most difficult actual watercolour problem I have found is too much opaque pigment mixed too much on the palette and then stirred up too much on the paper - too dead!
Sometimes a stencil-lifted highlight will work or you could try adding more detail to another part of the painting to draw attention away from the offending area or carefully glaze a transparent complementary colour over the problem area to knock it back.
Always try to push yourself to finish every painting whether you've decided it will be a 'good' painting or not. The truth is, you might not be able to fix a work you've deemed irretrievable but the effort of trying will teach you more about watercolour/painting/process than starting yet another painting that you'll struggle to complete. Further, if you've already deemed the painting a failure, you really can't make it any worse - keep at it!!
check out my Paintbox Tips for more watercolour help!!
Copyright 2009-2018 All images and text on Amanda's blog and website are the legal property of Amanda Brett and may not be reproduced without express permission, thanks for respecting my art and creativity.
There’s nothing easy about painting watercolour en plein air but, for me, it is an exhilarating and fun experience.
My early attempts, however, were difficult and my paintings absolutely atrocious! It seemed to take me forever to get to grips with this new style of painting in the great outdoors.
Without realising, I was faithfully following the 80/20 rule, 80% observation 20% drawing /painting. Later it dawned on me this rule does not apply to painting watercolour en plein air - I was trying to follow a guideline for the constant situation of studio/observational drawing from life.
When painting in the field, from the time you select your subject to your end-game, the painter has about 1-1.5 hours, 2 hours at most, to capture the subject before light and atmospheric conditions change too much. No mean feat but, if you practice, you will improve every time.
Another element to consider is the subject. My first attempts at painting en plein air were with groups of artists who love painting landscapes. For me, it was a big problem. Although I love good quality landscape paintings, I’m not interested in painting them myself. I’m a city girl afterall, I’m attuned to light and shadows bouncing around architecture and the people who inhabit amazing spaces. Just think of Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor) and you'll have hit your nail on the head!
I often tell my students to slow their painting process down but in the case of painting watercolour en plein air, I’m going to contradict myself and tell you to speed up! Speed up so you catch the light and changing conditions. Give yourself 5 minutes, and only 5 minutes, to take photos and sketch 1 or 2 value thumbnails and most importantly, take a mental snapshot. Make your memory work for you and, even if you think your result is "wrong", your work will be formed of the essence of your subject. Perfetto!! What a great excuse to go out and paint it again!! Your next work at the same scene will include different features and details and the next different again.
My personal strategy is to map the subject onto my watercolour paper with a 5 minute sketch and then not refer to the actual scene again. I am painting my interpretation of the scene not a photograph. Changing light and shadows become mighty confusing and create confusing paintings.
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Amanda Brett Watercolour Artist
Paintbox Tips, thoughts, scribblings and doodles on art, my life as an artist, travels and musings!! www.amandabrett.net