I’m really lucky to have so many creative, incredible friends that challenge and encourage me daily. One of these friends is Volta, who I’ve mentioned before for her amazing watercolor art. We bonded at work over a mutual love of watercolor although I was (and still am!) in the very (VERY) beginner level and she was (and is!) able to sell her work.
Last weekend we got together for a fall friend-date. We ate Persian food for lunch (nom nom), and then headed to Starbucks were we were able to snag an outside table and spend an afternoon playing with watercolor paints while sipping pumpkin spice lattes.
It was the perfect whether—a lovely 70 degrees with a cool breeze. Volta is such a good teacher—I wish everyone could have a lesson with her! I hope to write a more detailed step-by-step process of exactly what she taught me soon! 🙂 In the meantime, though, here are the tidbits I’ve learned and how I got started. First, you have to shop for supplies.
Get a palette (or two!) of colors. Palettes are easily portable and they are also pretty inexpensive—you can get a great variety of colors at Michaels or Hobby Lobby for under $20 (don’t forget your 40% off coupon!).
Pick the right paper. Watercolor paper is different from normal paper. It has a texture to it that helps the color adhere to the paper and dry easier. That doesn’t mean you are limited to only watercolor paper though—I’ve painted on drawing paper and notebook paper. And Volta started off painting exclusively on index cards! You can find pads of paper of all shapes and sizes—just pick something that you like!
Be picky with brushes. Here’s where I spent a little bit extra. I originally bought a set of cheap watercolor brushes, and when I tried to paint with them all the hairs fell off into my art, swirling around the wet paint. It was gross. I had to pick them out of my paintings and they dried funny. So the next time I went shopping, I got a few higher quality brushes to test the difference and it was totally worth it! No more shedding, odd-shaped brushes!
Now it’s time to play! One of my favorite things about watercolor is how versatile and forgiving the medium is. I like to start with wet paper and then add color. If you paint a streak on your paper with water, then add color to it, you can turn your page vertical and the color will run down, following the path of where you drew with water, stopping where you stopped. The paint is also extremely easy to blend colors—just keep adding water and blending together! Volta is especially talented at this, see?
I decided to try my hand at painting something besides abstract swirls. I picked this lovely fall watercolor art piece that inspired me, and tried to replicate what they did. We sketched out each shape with watercolor pencils, then shaded and blended our colors. Obviously if you were trying to sell your pieces or something don’t copy what other people did. But if you are just having fun, I think it’s okay as long as you give credit where it’s due! 🙂
With my own art, whenever I felt like I added too much color, I could just add water and dilute it. If my colors were too diluted I could add color. If my page got too wet, I’d just use a napkin to blot it and start again.
My favorite thing is how therapeutic it all was. We sipped our lattes, and spoke in soft mummers about life and dreams and art as we swirled color and blotted our pages. I felt so invigorated and alive afterwards—and was REALLY proud of my creation. 🙂 It has a spot of honor on our fridge currently!
And really it was just nice to paint something that isn’t a wall. 🙂
What about you guys? Do you paint for fun? What’s your form of therapy?