Creativity Workshop: Simplify, Simplify


In the December issue of Watercolor Artist, Cathy Johnson challenged readers to simplify, simplify. “By learning to focus first on the basics,” she said, “we can ensure that we get the essence down—even if light changes or we run out of time,” she says. Many artists rose to the challenge and sent us their experiments in simplification. Here is a selection of our favorite reader-submitted work:

Alone Again by Kathleen Ralph

“Cathy Johnson’s Creativity Workshop was the perfect thing for me. I’ve spent the better part of the last year doing tightly detailed paintings. This exercise really opened me up at a time when I was ready to try something new and bold with my work. Not only did I use a limited palette of Payne’s grey, Winsor violet and cerulean blue, but I also stopped painting before I got engrossed in little details. The result, in my opinion, is my best painting this year.”


Angus by Melissa Wassing

“This painting of my puppy was done quickly, emphasizing the masking and the colors of his face. Without overdoing the colors or the texture of the fur, it captures his expression, which is the feature that stands out the most. There isn’t a lot of detail to other things that might take the attention away from that part of the painting.”

Untitled and Untitled by Ken Hause

“Using the 4×6-inch original, 2×3-inch thumbnail sketches and big brush were valuable advice to me.”


See more Creativity Workshop Activities and galleries of reader responses here.

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