Break Through Your Creative Roadblocks

Collage materials can add visual interest and texture to a painting surface. Artwork by Misty Mawn.
Collage materials can add visual interest
and texture to a painting surface. Artwork by Misty Mawn.

When I feel creatively blocked or bored, I revert back to childhood and start to play. Doodling, writing stream-of-conscious text, or painting loosely–all of these can loosen you up and inspire you to take risks. Working with watercolor can yield the same results, which explains its ever-growing appeal among artists of all backgrounds. From beginning to end, working with water-based media can lead to the unexpected, and the unexpected is sometimes exactly what I need! That’s what I like about it the most, and those divergent but altogether interesting approaches are what exploring the medium is all about.

Salt produces white, star shapes on the surface of a watercolor painting. Artwork by Jacqueline Sullivan.
Salt produces white, star shapes on
the surface of a watercolor painting.
Artwork by Jacqueline Sullivan.

You can discover how to work through various creative processes, including how to manipulate working surfaces to achieve certain effects. Drawing, printmaking, collage, and dyeing—every one of those methods can be used with watercolor painting and allow you to take your work in new directions. If you choose to dye your surface, keep in mind that although all water-based media are intermixable, waterproof or solvent-based inks get gummy when mixed.

Printing images on paper can be the first step for a new watercolor artwork. Artwork by Moira Ackers.
Printing images on paper can be
the first step for a new watercolor artwork.
Artwork by Moira Ackers.

Adding elements like salt, sand, and charcoal to a watercolor painting can produce interesting effects as well. Salt pushes paint away, leaving star-shaped dots. Sand does the opposite, leaving dark marks on the paper surface. This can lend a sense of depth and texture in your artwork, leading to a piece that a viewer will want to reach out and touch—or, better yet, purchase!

Traditional practices and techniques will always have their place in an artist’s skill set, but working with a sense of adventure is what can really lead to creative breakthroughs. Watercolor Without Boundaries is the watercolor resource DVD that can help you expand your creative repertoire in the medium and inspire you to evolve your work in new ways.

 

 

 

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

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