Observations on Watercolor

I’ve got artist’s block. Maybe it’s because my muse is away, or maybe it’s because my budget leans more towards loan payments than new Daniel Smith paints, but either way — watercolor painting is not coming easy to me these days.

On the other hand, it may not be a mental thing at all; I might just be clashing with a new paper. For the past few years I’ve used Arches blocks, and before that I mostly stuck with various Strathmore papers or Canson student-grade paper. But recently I’ve been working on Fabriano Artistico 140 lb cold press paper, and perhaps I haven’t adjusted to the new texture.

…either that or I’ve spontaneously lost all my skill and/or talent.

In order to resolve any doubts about my adequacy as an artist, I decided to go back to the basics. For me, that means getting watercolor-tunnel-vision, which I’ve maintained for over a week now (it’s beginning to give me a headache).

Speaking of which: Has anybody actually read all the way through Handprint.com’s watercolor section? Like, thoroughly? Watercolor artists know the website as one of the most thorough resources (web OR print) for everything everything watercolor; from color theory to brand comparisons of brushes and paper, the experience is like reading a friggin’ textbook, complete with lightwave diagrams and the molecular structures of pigments.

Anyways, expect a lot of geeky paint posts coming up, including (hopefully!) a paper comparison review.

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4 Responses to “Observations on Watercolor”


  1. 1 lindahalcombfineart November 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I am not familar with the website you mention but am certainly going to check it out. When I get blocked – and I do about once a year – I try to free my mind by playing. I will try another medium or a collage or just doodle or splash around on Yupo (which you wash off after you make a mess on it). And then one morning I wake up with ideas flowing and a compelling need to paint. Good Luck!

  2. 2 Gentian November 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I get frustrated when I get a block, but I try to remember breaks are good at times 🙂 My teacher in school would always tell me it was okay if I needed process time. I try to remind myself of that. Usually after a short break, things will come together easily.

    It might be the paper. Sometimes it does take a while to adjust I think when the properties are a bit different to what you are used to working on.

    I have read a good deal of the handprint site,it is quite informative. I like the chemistry of paints. Something about it intrigues me. At the end of the day I just like to paint though 😀

  3. 3 Cole November 18, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    @Linda – I’ve been wanting to check out Yupo for a while; that’s a great idea to use it as a creative fix for artist’s block!

    @Gentian – Agreed; I had to discern which parts of the website were actually going to help me when it came to painting, and which parts were totally excessive knowledge :).

    I think part of my problem is that I’ve ha TOO much of a break from painting. My day job leaves me with no time to paint and then when I do try, I can’t seem to find my rhythm :/. I guess that means I’m not in the right job field…

  4. 4 Naomi November 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Hi there – I’ve just picked up the brush after weeks of neglecting it – too much to do at work, as well as a photography class. To say it was disastrous is to say it nicely!

    I totally understand how you feel about not being able to do what you know how to do! But, you will get it, it comes back. Sadly, working for a living means much of what we love has to take back seat, and that can mean family and hobbies as well as ourselves.

    But, we will all get “it” back if we just put a bit of time into it . . .

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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