A Study in Watercolour

Dresden. Watercolour sky and foreground - details in watercolour pencils
 When I first decided to start making art again, I painted a few things I liked using my school watercolour set. All of them looked hideous and blotchy and I gave up immediately. I started again a while later, then with simple pencils. And eventually, I also wanted to start painting again. But watercolours were scary!

Eventually I discovered a great workaround for my problem - there is such a thing as watercolour pencils!
Watercolour pemcils from Faber-Castell
I watched video tutorials online and really liked them (with the added bonus of the inability of native English speakers to pronounce the name 'Albrecht Dürer', which Faber-Castell have picked for their watercolour pencils).

Watercolour pencils are easy. You use them like a normal coloured pencil, then you wet a brush and go over your image to activate them. If you want to add a layer, wait for it to dry and then go over it with a pencil and repeat the process. Piece of cake. Even I was able to do it!
I practised for a while and I really liked it. But it didn't really feel like painting, and I have always been drawn to the way pigments dissolve in water, and just ... I love watercolour. It's just scary. I tried it with my old school palette and painted my hometown. I managed to make a blotchy sky and an ugly foreground, and then decided to do the pretty city in watercolour pencils. I couldn't trust my way with a brush!

A real watercolouur painting!!!
Later I bought a little watercolour travel set (because it looked cute, and because I'm a sucker for nice art supplies), and I tried it out with my waterbrush. It looked awful again, so I put the set away and was sad. This was shortly before Christmas, and at Christmas, a friend got a colouring book. I have zero patience for detailed images, and I often think how I would draw something differently when I look at them - but they have pre-drawn images, and when I accidentally make them look hideous, it doesn't matter. No one needs to know. So I decided to buy one for myself (or a few, really. Don't judge! You try buying just one!).

It took a lot of time to be able to control the brush even a little bit, and even more to relearn whatever I had thought I'd known about colour mixing, but I was no longer afraid. So I attempted something brave - a real watercolour painting!
The background is still blotchy - I blame that on the shitty paper (Lesson learned - In Watercolours, paper is really fucking important!!!). And the layering isn't great, and the drawing not that perfect ... but everything was done with my little watercolour travel set - I mixed the colours and I used a real paintbrush to apply it to the paper! It looked nowhere near what I wanted, but I was still really proud!

And now that the foundation was laid, I wanted to make more progress!!! I bought better watercolour paper (and a new palette with colours more suited to my taste than a standard one... whoops) and better brushes.I've tried them out for a bit, and now I've even picked a 30 day art challenge to practise using watercolour. I love how it works, and even though I have a lot to learn, I think it is a great medium :).

I've never touched my old school palette again. I know that it is possible to do good work with cheap supplies, but I don't think I know enough to be able to make those paints work for me. But that's okay. I finally got to actually making art with watercolour anyway, so I'm happy :). And maybe I'll know wnough about it to use the school set again one day :). 

My new palette! :)




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