I've heard of painting for yourself, for school, for work,
but painting for the trash can?! Artist and watercolor painting instructor Jean
Haines explains why working this way isn't rubbish at all. Enjoy!
The aim of being an artist is to create. But with this
desire of creating wonderful paintings that can be framed or exhibited comes an
enormous amount of pressure. We expect to always succeed in our goal to capture
a scene or subject. I strongly believe it is this stress factor that can put
off the beginner or lead to gaps in a professional artist's practice, times
when they simply don't feel like they can pick up a brush and be successful. Or
it becomes a point of despondency because one thinks he or she will never able
to reach his or her goal.
||I painted this watercolor exercise (with cadmium yellow and French ultramarine blue)
for fun, for the bin, and with the aim of simply achieving
vibrant fresh color on
paper with texture effects for added interest.
||In this watercolor painting for the bin, pigment
is breaking up by use of simple water
application. I refer to this watercolor painting technique as
"water flow." Indigo and
French ultramarine blue formed amazing
patterns in the experimental wash.
result from purely experimenting with watercolor and textural effects.
In my studio I start and close each day with color experiments that, over
time, have improved my art and my knowledge of the watercolor painting medium.
In my watercolor art workshops I encourage everyone to experiment similarly
with color first rather than always aiming to create a masterpiece straight
away. Many experiments don't turn out right the first time, and it's alright to
toss them in the bin (which is what we call the trash can in Britain). But
while I am painting for the bin, I often unintentionally create pieces that are
perfect for framing.
The key is to create a fun and light mood while experimenting, which is what
I try to do during my watercolor painting lessons, and the results are incredible.
I sometimes get the feeling many artists are too serious about their work and that
they have forgotten how wonderfully enjoyable the experience of creating can
actually be! Having fun with this process has aided my own growth and led me to
completely new and exciting discoveries in watercolor painting techniques.
I constantly challenge myself by looking for new color combinations and
pigment reactions, and I am fascinated by the reactions of artists attending my
demonstrations. The joy they express when told not to paint a subject
but to simply love working with color is amazing. I think possibly being given
permission to "play" instead of always aiming for that special
painting frees our inner artist and pushes us on our own road of discovery.
So the next time you don't feel like painting, how about letting go of
all your inhibitions and self-imposed restrictions and free yourself by doing
Paint four scraps of paper with
different colors. Set yourself the challenge of making each one unique.
Increase the challenge by not allowing yourself to use your favorite shades.
Look out for great experimental results and use them in your more serious compositions.
And remember to simply paint for the trash bin and take the pressure off of
I was once told if your bin isn't full, you haven't practiced enough!
Although be warned, this exercise can become completely addictive, and that
means taking out "the trash" more often!
I love Jean's energy and unself-conscious approach to her painting. As a
watercolor artist, she's definitely shown me that color is king and that a
sense of play is an absolute must. If you are looking for more on how to paint
watercolor without forgetting the fun, we have our Watercolor 2010 CD available for you now--a whole year's worth of
inspiration and incredible artwork that reminds all of us how freeing and fun
our art should be!