Surprise! I was at the store getting a fun new product to try out so I bought a few sheets of paper to make a couple of new journals. They're a little wacky inside.
If you're a local reader and would like to see Inner Turmoil in person, it will be shown at this year's ArtSpacific show, so come check it out!
Where: Firehall Centre for the Arts, 11489 84th Ave, Delta BC
When: April 1 - 13
Reception: April 5, 7pm-9pm
Just like last year I will be doing a sit-in on Tuesday April 2nd, 10am-12pm.
Is it just me, or did this week just fly by?
I have been seriously itching to have fun. Serious painting fun. Perhaps I need another artsy playdate? In the meantime, I thought it wasn't fair that I painted only one of my cats, and so I decided to paint my other cat on a full sheet of watercolour paper.
I ended up tearing around the edges of what I had painted, and glued it onto an old canvas board panel I originally used seven or eight years ago! This currently how I combine watercolour with other media: watercolour first, then paint around it.
I watched an art journal video on youtube, which featured something called "absorbant ground" which I absolutely HAVE to find. From what I hear, it is a kind of gesso, that can turn other surfaces into an absorbant one for watercolours. What a concept! Is it true?
Thought I'd take a snapshot of this totally unstaged ridiculous mess of a desktop! Eeeuuugghh....
Lots of people really like the REALNESS of the messy desk. I don't know... I kind of like the perfectly organized, clean, fresh, sunlit art studios!
I'm halfway through a painting of my cat Magellan that I will recycle onto an old canvas or something for our bedroom. It's sitting on a box of pencil crayons I pulled out just so I could use ONE of them. Three days ago. Good grief.
I keep my paintings in a big binder which I rarely look through. Some paintings are wrapped tightly in a frame and I forget they exist. Many, I even forget have been sold and I feel momentarily sad that I will probably never see them again.
Some of them have stuck around for a while, when I was first getting back into watercolour painting. They're kinda sweet, like a distant memory, and wouldn't mind having them on my wall.
So I've decided to add a little "Last Chance" section in my etsy shop, and added a few of these older paintings at a discounted price. If not, I have my eye on a couple of them for keepsies. Heh.
During a social event, rain fell. It flowed across the streets in miniature rivers and streams. The rain bubbled up from the drains like little volcanos and threatened to overtake our basements. I sloshed through, my socks taking in a bit of rain here and there. It was deceptively dark and deep.
I found myself collecting from this insane torrent of envy. I found myself wishing, wishing, wishing... walking through aisles of creative inspiration yet taking nothing. Imagining success but reaping none for myself. An active mind detached from a lethargic body.
Sometimes I think I'm doing everything I possibly can for myself but that can't be true. Dreams can be dangerous, because one just might never wake up. Dazzling images dance in my mind, but really, I am standing still and collecting rain.
I sent a version of this in a recent newsletter, but wanted to expand on it a little bit.
I've played with a lot of different media including pencil crayon, acrylics, water-oils and the like, but I always seem to come back to watercolours. Here are my top six reasons why!
6) Overall Cost
A little can go a long way. I'm currently using a tiny little travel box of Cotman watercolours that I purchased a few years ago. They are still going strong! You do need watercolour paper if you want to get the most out of the paints, but any heavy weight papers will do the trick. They cost significantly less than stretched canvas and oil paints.
Con: They need to be framed, which is a whole new beast to tackle.
5) Easy Storage
Acrylic paint was fun, but my biggest regret was having to store all of those huge canvases in my tiny apartment! Switching to small watercolours meant I could paint to my heart's content and store them flat inside a binder. If something doesn't work out, they can be easily recycled or used in my art journal. Mailing them is a cinch!
Well, ok. There was a time where I was carrying around a little cup and looking for a place to fill it with water (oceans & rivers, heh). It was certainly awkward. But then a good friend bought me a waterbrush which is such a wonderful invention! Watercolour on the go! No awkward cups filled with sea water anymore. The travel boxes often cost less than their full sized versions and click safely shut before storing in a purse or bag. Water soluble crayons are an even better option for travel.
3) They're Relatively Safe
While you should not underestimate their ability to stain clothing, watercolours are a pretty safe medium. Unlike oils, there are no unpleasant odors. Unlike acrylics, they don't entice the artist to paint with his/her fingers, which means there is much less chance of cadmium, lead or other bad things soaking into your skin. Just don't place your cup of water next to your cup of tea or you might drink the wrong one!
2) Rules Are Easily Broken
When my mom bought me tubes of watercolour during high school, I wasn't sure how to use them. In fact, I still prefer to use dry cakes because of how familiar they are to the paintboxes from elementary school. I played with them in the same sketchbooks I'd use my pencil crayons, and that sketchbook got so wet over time that the spine fell off. My first official lesson was in a high school art class. We taped with the awful brown tape, we soaked the papers in the sink, we practiced all the different "methods" of painting and colour overlays and what not. I hated it. It was so controlled and boring that it's no wonder so many people feel intimidated by watercolour!
I never got consistent results from the brown tape so I switched to masking tape. I never soak my papers. I don't paint wet-on-wet or use plastic palettes to make little diluted puddles. It's as if all of those rules were just begging to be broken!
1) Most of All - They Are Beautiful No Matter What!
People have asked me: "Watercolour is impossible to control... what is the secret?"
Here's the secret: don't control it. Play first! When using good quality materials, even an accidental splash of colour will yield the nicest textures. I don't know what it is about watercolour, but I love all of the doodles I make with them. If I dab them with a paper towel, the pattern in the towel will be left behind. If I flick water onto the wet paint, it will create pretty little waterspots (less messy than using salt, anyway). Simply spray with a bottle or drip down a page - you'll love it, I promise.
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?
Tuesday, February 14, 1pm PST