Today’s post will be short and sweet. I just wanted to encourage everyone who is beginning a new hobby or learning a new skill to use all the resources available to you. This includes all those wonderful videos on Youtube, any books you may find, the internet, artists, classes, vlogs, blogs like this one. The list goes on. However, do not discredit using peers or novices to learn something new, as people who are masters of their art have already put in the time and practice to make things second nature and look very easy. It is easy to get frustrated learning how to do something by following only masters if you have minimal to no experience in something.
Start with building a foundation and move up from there. Learn with people who are not pros, amateurs like me, because we are doing it because we have already been given great advice on the subject at hand and want to tell others. It is amazing how some incredibly simple things can change your experience with something like painting. Oftentimes, some things get overlooked by those who do them by muscle memory. You are left wondering whether you are holding the brush right, how much water should be loaded on the brush, which color blend do you need – generally, why does it keep looking so wrong.
After watching hours of videos and tutorials, the most notable thing I have come away with is a firm understanding that I have to practice the basics and the way that I want to produce textures that come out most of the time (because every time would be too much to ask for). There are many different ways to achieve similar effects, and some that you like more than others.
Take for example producing the idea of a tree trunk. There are several ways you can go about this (I will update with image examples):
- paint one onto a background (pretty obvious)
- scrape one out with something like a credit card
- lift paint out in a line from a larger wash
- drag it out of still-wet paint (similar to scraping, but you can make branches and vines)
- paint a background around it (negative painting)
- scrape it out with a razor or similar sharp implement after everything has dried
These are just a few ways to do a seemingly simple thing, and each produce a different effect and varying textures. But, if done correctly, they will let everyone looking at your work knowing that what you have made is a tree trunk.
Ultimately, it helps very much to watch youtube videos and complete written tutorials, but do not forget about reaching out to peers and joining various groups and forums. They can be in real life (which is nice social interaction) or they can be digital (with the conversation available to be stored or copied and kept for later use). I have a more limited time scale, so I rely more heavily on Facebook groups and Pinterest and physical books I have purchased.
And of course, tons of practice. It takes 19-21 times of repetition to make something a habit. It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. It is something worth striving for, because mastery also entails that more than half of your brain cells also enjoy helping you along with your passion, making the whole experience more physical and tangible than that ethereal ‘sense’ of painting that have urged you to pick up the brush in the first place.
Here are some of the ‘teachers’ that I follow and find very helpful for my style of painting:
The Mind of Watercolor – this is a rather nice and easy to follow Youtube page with useful tips and tricks
Pure Watercolour – very helpful tutorials and tips, as well as some member galleries and challenges. it is free to join.
Watercolor Workshop – Facebook group with a very helpful community
Watercolor Addicts – another helpful Facebook group
Square1Watercolor – just sneaking in my own Facebook group here, in its infancy 🙂
I also see that these things can never be short with me. Well, I will try harder next time. Thanks for bearing with me!