Watercolor Madness

One of the mediums in which I’ve taken an interest lately is watercolor.  Everyone has an opinion about it.  Most people agree both that it is a lovely medium but that it is also one of the most difficult because it is one of the most unforgiving.  Also, you have to kind of think backwards in the way you build your painting, starting with the highlights first and working your way back through to the darkest shadows.  I admit that it is a bit of a challenge but because I’ve had no formal training any ANY medium they all seem to be equally difficult for me!  Therefore, watercolor doesn’t present any more of a challenge to me than acrylics.  They both are different in technique and behavior but they are both similarly challenging for me to use.

I participated in a Pen Pal swap for three months hosted by Ronda Palazzari and each month she presented a different art challenge for us to use to communicate who we were and a description of where we lived to our respective pen pals.  The last month she suggested that we provide some sort of information pertaining to our home town–either a photo or a sketch or painted sketch or a combination…whatever we thought we could muster.  Silly me.  For some reason I thought it was time for me to do a watercolor sketch.  So, for the first time ever, I took a photo that I had taken in our living area and attempted to convert it into a watercolor sketch.  Now, I’ve played around with watercolor and I have a sketchbook in which I have created some paint sketches, but those were only for me–I have not dared share any of my immature drawing with the world!  LOL!

Since really trying to do some art at least once per week–or several times per week if I’m having a good week–I seem to have gotten a bit braver with what I find acceptable for myself and what I tend to continue to criticize.  For whatever reason, I had some crazy idea that I wanted to do a watercolor sketch for my trade.  And so I did.

Here is the photo that I used for the sketch.  It is a picture taken at the St. Simons Island Pier looking south/west toward the Sidney Lanier Bridge, an iconic landmark in our area.

SSI Pier Looking at Sidney Lanier Bridge

The rocky shore presented a bit of a challenge for me but I managed, I think.  The scan of the sketch below was a little disappointing as the colors in the painted sketch were more muted and presented some difficulty in capturing a good scan that didn’t look graining or overly saturated.  Here is how it turned out.

WC SSI Pier Looking at Bridge--Med

I plan on doing more watercolor in the future.  I had to really concentrate very hard to get the sketch the way I wanted it and I was very tired when it was all completed (it is difficult to hold your tongue just right for that long…) but I felt pleased with the results.  The white “foam” on the wave edges was made with a Sharpie Poster Paint Marker (the water based one).  I used white gouache  for the center of the sun.

So I’m curious, do you ever use watercolor?  Have you just never tried or considered it or have you tried and found it too difficult of a medium for you?


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