Where to begin? While it may not look very impressive, this week’s challenge was the most exasperating one yet. What is it you ask? It is what is called “a wash” in watercolor which is applying paint to wet paper. Though I have been working in watercolors since I was 10 years old, I have never allowed them to be ‘themselves’ as the perfectionist in me has always fought their natural qualities. This medium is notorious for having a mind of its own, and my strong will fights that every time I paint. THAT is one of the things I am desperately ‘trying’ to break. I want to allow their inherent beauty to shine through…water stains and all!!
That is why I wanted to do a watercolor study comprised of several washes in order to experiment and play with the paint. However, things did not go as planned. I used a big sheet of paper (26” x 40”) and did two rows of three washes on it. After doing 4 washes I gave up because the paper was old and ‘diseased’ (the coating on it had gone) so my paint was absorbing into the paper like a sponge. So, then I pulled out another sheet, but it ended up being even worse than the first sheet. So, then I switched to a block of watercolor paper, and while that paper was fine, I could not get the hang of the techniques I was trying to apply. I used up all the paper I had left in that block and resorted to this smaller piece of paper that I found. I don’t remember ever using this paper before, though it was a remnant of a large sheet, so I know I did use it at some point in time. Honestly, I am not even sure that it was watercolor paper, but 12 tries and several hours later, on that scrap piece of paper I FINALLY created what I would consider a successful wash.
I can honestly say that this was my most challenging week so far because I was way outside my comfort zone and expertise; nonetheless, it was the most profitable week towards my end goal. Because I saw so much benefit in this study, as well as how much more I have to learn, I am going to plan to continue practicing and playing with the medium for the next two weeks to create a series of three watercolor studies (with a whole lot of practicing in between). Though I am certain they will be underwhelming to many, these will benefit me in my long-term goal dramatically…at least that is my hope! Thank you for sticking with me even when the challenge may seem less exciting. I can’t forget my ultimate goal here… “More expression and less perfection!”. If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.