overcoming my fears of watercolor

 Mandy's Grandma Archuleta served her signature pinto beans in this 2 qt. Hall's Superior Quality Kitchenware bowl with Autumn Leaf motif.

Mandy's Grandma Archuleta served her signature pinto beans in this 2 qt. Hall's Superior Quality Kitchenware bowl with Autumn Leaf motif.

I have steered clear of using watercolor paints for years because they would usually leave me feeling disappointed, frustrated, and inadequate. Too often I'd watch in horror as colors bled into one another leaving muddy messes behind. Every now and then I'd overwork the paints when I should have just left well enough alone. And more often than not I'd watch helplessly as colors traveled to areas on the paper intended for different applications. It seemed like watercolors and I just weren't meant to be.

Fast forward to today where I'm living in the Bay Area surrounded by wickedly-talented artists, some of whom I'm proud to call friends. I am especially blown away by the watercolor artists -- they've given me hope that I can slay the watercolor demons of my past if I just try.

 Mandy's maternal great-great grandmother's solid bird's eye maple rolling pin.

Mandy's maternal great-great grandmother's solid bird's eye maple rolling pin.

So, try I have. I spent the last month documenting some beloved kitchen heirlooms for the #12monthsofpaint Community Art Challenge (the April's theme was "All Things Kitchen!") I welcomed the practice and also saw this as an opportunity to face my fears (I self-imposed a rule that I could only use watercolors). In the end, I discovered a greater appreciation for the medium and I believe I slayed a few of those demons. 

What did I learn? Investing in proper brushes and quality paper makes a world of difference. By simply committing to this practice for the whole month, I spent valuable time practicing brush strokes and varying the amount of water left on the brush to see the different outcomes. I learned that I didn't necessarily have to wet the entire surface with water first, before applying pigment, like I remember seeing on those PBS shows of my youth. I also realized I could wait for layers to dry before adding more colors (again, those TV shows made it look as if everything needed to happen at once). Lastly, the perfectionist in me learned to embrace the lack of control that comes with watercolors. 

 Fire King Jadeite Batter bowl belonged to Mandy's mom's mom, Viola Fossett.

Fire King Jadeite Batter bowl belonged to Mandy's mom's mom, Viola Fossett.

My finished watercolor paintings:  Click here to view my paintings and learn more about the #12monthofpaint Community Art Project, the artists co-hosting the project, and how there's still time left for you to participate. Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!