Around Christmastime of 2015 I decided that I wanted to attempt something that I hadn’t attempted since I was in grade school: watercolors!
They can certainly be an intimidating medium, especially for a girl who remembers lots of blotchy, frustratingly brown works of art from her youth. Of course, I was too young to realize it then, but the trick to watercolors is the understanding that they can have a mind of their own, and embracing that can give you some really lovely pictures.
Some of my earliest experiments didn’t go as well as the picture you see here. I tend to research new projects until I’m blue in the face, and one of the tips that I heard early on was that in order to get white to show up on a watercolor painting, that you must work the color around it so that the white of your paper shows through. You can do this with masking tape or masking fluid, or simply being a master of the medium and guiding the paint around the white areas.
Stubbornly, I decided that since white existed in watercolor paints, that there must be a way to get the white to show up on paintings, and I painted many different simplified landscapes with white clouds. It does work, but it has a much different feel than the white you can get from letting the paper show through. The white watercolor paint looks almost three dimensional when you see it on paper, as if I cut the clouds out and laid them on top of the rest of the painting. But it works, and I like that effect, even if it takes more than a couple of white layers to get it to show up decently.
I stared to paint tiny animals. I would paint two or three in a night, and I liked how he paints could be pastel and bold all at the same time. I gave several of them to my family for Christmas.
I had my boyfriend rattle off names of different animals so I could attempt to paint them. Platypus!
Zebra. And that zebra is still my favorite.