Please help me get unstuck. I started watercolor painting about 3 years ago, took some classes in Steamboat Springs and some in Florida and California, was having fun with it but it seems I've now been struck with fear and just can't get going again. I look on line for some watercolor painting exercises to get me moving again, but really haven't found anything. If there is anyone out there that could suggest where I could find such exercises or even some wonderful soul that would be willing to give me a little push by suggesting some painting exercises for me to do, I would so very much be forever grateful to you. I'm attaching a photo of one of my efforts.
Thank you so much,
I would suggest looking at the videos. and e-books on the sight. Also just pick put something you like and start painting it. I like what you have done with the boats. Remember the three Ps - Practice, Patience and Persistence.
Thanks Charlie, that may help, I want to find some exercises to do, someone or someplace that says "do this, paint this" and I wouldn't be able to find an excuse to not do it.
The paintings are nice. Not knowing were you are from, you might do a search for art societies, groups in your area. Having a regular group to meet with is a great stimulus to being active with painting as well as the learning that happens from other people's work. Many groups are free and if you have the money, taking a class is also a great stimulus. Check community centers in your area and do a search on the Web.
I'm in three groups and it always drags me out to paint and inside too and it's a good social time as well. I think meeting in groups is a lot more powerful than books or videos. I know Florida has hundreds of art societies and groups.
Have you tried wetting a small sheet of watercolour paper and then dabbing paint onto the wet surface to see how the colours move around and merge? I would give my grandchildren 'lessons' doing this on the bottom of paper plates, often I would be still at mine after the kids had finished their artwork. It was fun to see what picture would emerge from stains on my plate and I would end up working this up into a more detailed work. If you use your watercolour paper, you may end up with a keeper.
You are asking for a source of motivation. You can only find true motivation within yourself. Only you can kindle that fire within you that urges you to share your thoughts and observations with others through your artwork.
Your paintings display a natural talent. They show you have the basics. You can draw reasonably well and you can work with paint well. Now it is your your job to build on these skills and show the rest of us just how good an artist you can be.
Your friends probably recognize you as a person with art talent and that's something special in its self. But what they don't know is just how good an artist you can be someday. Being all you can be is hard work. Study the work of the true masters of watercolor. Draw for the sheer fun and relaxation it offers. Remember that the only way to learn to draw and paint is by drawing and painting.
Start seeing as an artist sees. When you see something that is visually appealing to you, ask yourself what it is that makes it interesting to you. Have a camera with you at times to record the random things you find interesting. Print out the photos and keep a file of them. Eventually you will find a renewed visual interest in the word around you.
These are just a few suggestions toward the building of a creative fire within in you that will never go out. And the world will be richer for you having been here.
Don't take yourself so seriously. Get a small piece of paper and splash some paint on it. Yes, just splash a blob on it. Your paper is now ruined and you are free to make many more mistakes. Plop an object in front of you - don't go too far. Look around and grab something that is within four feet of you. Got it? Ok now paint away. Don't think so much.
It's always hard to paint fearlessly - even veteran painters can struggle with fear and feeling "stuck" in the midst of a painting. Painting more fearlessly has been my goal for the last year or so and I just finished writing a little blog post with some of my new "rules" for painting more courageously. One thing that has helped is just taking the pressure of of having a successfully completed painting. It's hard to train yourself to be happy unless something is "frame-able" but every painting is a lesson and will make you a better painter! The rest of my "rules" can be found here: http://angelafehr.com/wordpress/2013/01/17/8-rules-for-fearless-painting-in-2013/
Thank you for your 8 rules for fearless painting, and your great blog, I watched a few of the videos and for the first time in a long time I have taken my paper and watercolors out and I'm ready to play Thank you so much I think you have given me the push I needed, I am going to start with some leaves then maybe another day flowers and then maybe see what I can do with a few watercolor pencils.
Got to go now my paints await !
That's great! Have fun and thank you!
Don't get discouraged - for someone who has been working in watercolor only 3 years you are well on your way! I have yet to meet a serious watercolorist who feels like he/she has totally "arrived" as there are so many shifting variables that go into a completed painting (changes in the artist, the pigments, paper, surrounding working environment - humid/dry, etc). But that is what makes working in watercolor a challenge and a joy. AND IT IS HARD!!!!! It's about relationship, persistence, respect, grace and being a risk taker. Just get in there and paint. You won't be able to build up your confidence and shut off the negative tape recorder in your head by not painting. Give yourself time and grace to return to a sense of pleasure (may not always be fun). You will never know whether or not you will return to that place unless you try. And along this road you will encounter "teachable moments" or "failures". It is all in one's perspective and how one embraces let downs. One excellent artist wisely said - never let a piece become too precious. I believe she is right.
I would like to offer my favorite self critiquing technique that I force myself to do during the last (40% to go?) stages of working on a painting - looking at your work in a mirror, looking at your work upside down in a mirror and/or setting your piece out upside down and looking at it over a few days. You probably already know and use this. I say "force" myself, because for me this technique is a truth teller and eye opener and can be painful. This technique is especially valuable for those of us who like to paint identifiable subjects or realism. When I am working on a painting, my minds eye and the amount of time and emotion I've invested in a painting causes me to believe the piece looks a certain way and everything is in balance. I enjoy painting fishing boats. So with all the curves, lines, shadows and reflections that come with the subject matter, I might think that everything looks great or I might have a feeling that something isn't quite right but can't quite put my finger on it. When I get myself into these situations, my tendency is to overwork, overwork, overwork and try to solve the problem because it is easier to do so out of frustration than to take a breath and seriously look at it from a different viewpoint. So I found that if I just look at the painting in the mirror or upside down, I am no longer looking at a fishing boat that has become very precious to me because of the amount of time and emotional energy I have put into it - but now I am looking at a painting with shapes, values, balance, line, perspective, etc - and I am assessing the whole painting as an abstract instead of focusing on a fishing boat. Weaknesses in the painting will jump out and I can go back to make changes. But as you know any change in a painting has a domino effect that leads to other changes - so from time to time I will check things again and again. Also, the advice to meet with other watercolorists who are skilled enough to offer helpful critiques is invaluable. Be careful when joining a group. I meet with a group 2x a month who I know have my back, who's opinions I trust and respect and offer both sugar and spice critiques.
Right now I am slowly revisiting Robert Wade's books - in particular his Watercolor Handbook. He has excellent exercises and also many words of wisdom. He is self taught and yet is highly respected/recognized. You might find his books in your local library. While I don't necessarily use his color pallet, I have found his exercises very helpful in returning to the basics. But the bottom line is this - if you want to paint in watercolor, you have to roll up your sleeves and do it. There is no magic formula, video or teacher who is going to unlock your blockage - only you. I often say that we have a choice - we can be our worst enemy or our best friend and we simply need to get out of our own way. I know you will do great - I can tell by your paintings that you already have it within you waiting to come out.