A Message · Recommended Reading and Classes · Step-by-step · Watercolor

New Challenges

In mid February I started taking a beginner’s watercolor class with Doug Mock at RAL Art Center in Kilmarnock, VA. I also started attending a yoga class twice a week at Abilities Abound in Callao, VA.

Since this is mainly a blog about my art, you would think yoga has no place in this, but I’m finding out that it just might.

When Doug asked us what we wanted to get out of the watercolor class I had to think about it a bit. I realized there were probably two main things: 1. I wanted to plan my paintings better no matter the medium and slow down and become more deliberate in my process; and 2. I wanted to explore the medium that my mother advised me to avoid (after she painted in watercolor for many, many years) as she said it was just “too hard.”

When I went into the first yoga class, we were instructed to focus on the intent of our practice each time we began our practice for the day. To my brain, that is sort of the same as taking a moment (or a couple of hours, sometimes) to figure out what my intent is for each painting. This is not something I have been consistent about doing at all. And I am coming to learn very quickly that even though many of the yoga poses are challenging, by at least giving each of them an honest try, I can sometimes surprise myself. Sort of like trying out a new art technique or medium.

There are no photos of me practicing yoga, but I find I am more often becoming conscious throughout the day of sitting properly on my “sitting bones” and working towards having my spine stack properly.

I’ve shared below a photo of a watercolor study I’ve started outside of class. It has a long way to go before it is near where I want it to end up as the need to allow layers to dry completely before proceeding (in many, but not all cases), is definitely making me slow down and plan carefully where each brush stroke needs to fall. In watercolor there isn’t much opportunity to back up or cover up mistakes like there is in oils and acrylics, so each brush stroke needs to be carefully considered. This is beginning to affect my approach to my oil painting. If I take my time, it seems there is less of a need to correct mistakes because I’m making fewer of them.

Pots in the early stages. Still very pale and needing many, many more layers (glazes)

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