The aim of being an artist is the ability to create. But with this desire of wishing to constantly achieve wonderful paintings that can be framed or exhibited comes an enormous amount of pressure on our shoulders. We expect to always succeed in our goal to capture a scene or subject on paper or canvas. I strongly believe it is this stress factor that can put off the beginner or lead to gaps in a professional artist's life, where they simply don't feel like picking up a brush. Or it becomes a point of despondency because one thinks he or she will never able to reach his or her goal.
|I painted this watercolor exercise (with cadmium yellow and French ultramarine blue)
for fun, for the bin, and with the aim of simply achieving vibrant fresh color on
paper with texture effects for added interest.
|In this watercolor painting for the bin, pigment is breaking up by use of simple water
application. I refer to this watercolor painting technique as "water flow." Indigo and
French ultramarine blue formed amazing patterns in the experimental wash.
|Abstract result from purely experimenting with watercolor and textural effects.|
In my studio I start and close each day with color experiments that, over time, have improved my art and knowledge of the medium I am working in which is watercolor. In my watercolor painting workshops I encourage everyone to experiment simply with color first rather than always aim to create a masterpiece straight away.
The fun and light mood in the room whilst this experimental part of my sessions takes place is incredible. I sometimes get the feeling many artists are so serious about their work that they have forgotten how wonderfully enjoyable the experience of creating can actually be!
This fun process has aided my own growth as an artist, led me to completely new and exciting discoveries in watercolor painting techniques, and increased my passion for painting. While I am painting for the bin (which is what we call the trash can in Britain), I often unintentionally create pieces that are perfect for framing.
I do constantly stretch myself by looking for new color combinations and pigment reactions. And I am not alone in loving this experimental way of approaching each new day of painting. I am increasingly fascinated by the reactions of artists attending my demonstrations. The joy they feel when told not to paint a subject but to simply love working with color for a change is amazing. I think possibly being given permission to "play" instead of always aiming for that special painting frees our inner artist and pushes us on our own road of discovery.
So the next time you don't feel like painting, how about letting go of all your inhibitions and self-imposed restrictions, and free yourself by doing this exercise:
Paint four scraps of paper with different colors. Set yourself the challenge of making each one unique. Increase the challenge by not allowing yourself to use your favorite shades.
Look out for great experimental results and use them in your more serious compositions. Most of all have fun, aim for the (trash) bin in your warm up sessions and surprise yourself at how amazing your experimental results become.
Paint for the bin more often and take the pressure off of your shoulders. I was once told if your bin isn't full, you haven't practiced enough! Although be warned, this exercise can become completely addictive, and that means taking out "the trash" more often!