How I Paint in Watercolor | Face Study Part Two

How I paint...Part 2

Thanks for sticking with me this far!  I mentioned before how I never got artful advice growing up.  I wish I knew that artists could copy for practice!  I wish someone told me to practice daily and challenge myself.  Of course I was happy just to draw for fun, and for much of my youth it was just that.  Just because I liked it didn't mean I was going to make a career of it.  But every time I was asked to draw something for someone in school, I was just as delighted to see them gush over it as they were to have it.  I drew in yearbooks at the end of every year, I made posters for the cheerleaders, and lent my services where they were needed.  It was a good feeling to be known.  Even so, I feel like everyone made the decision that I would be an artist before I did!  More on that later...

In this second installment of How I Paint in Watercolor... I have detailed my process continuing from the first part.  Here you'll see work on the eyes, lips, hair, and then finishing details with Pilot Pocket Brush Pen.  I've used a variety of colors: Moonglow, Rose of Ultramarine,  Turquoise Blue, Violet Grey, Blue Grey, Opera Pink, Yellow Gamboge Hue. 


Enjoy the second video, take a look at some of my tools and colors used...and then let me offer some more  advice.

In my previous post I talked about sketchbooking and practice.  Both are fundamental.  They are not everyone's cup of tea, but they are valuable nonetheless in the quest for artistic prowess.  I mentored a co-worker once and she asked how I knew where to put what, and why it seemed so effortless.  Truthfully it is, but not because I just magically KNOW.  I know because I've practiced, referenced, and studied.  That's it! No shortcuts!  It wasn't what she wanted to hear.   She wanted to be better NOW.


I let her know that the more effort she put in, the more she'd see results.  She did, and of course improved.   Sometimes I would sense frustration and she would lament that nothing was coming out right and she was losing pages in her sketchbook.  "Where are they going?" I asked. 


She was ripping them out. 


I just facepalmed.  I laughed.  I definitely sympathized.  I calmly told her that you have to be willing to make bad art.  She looked at me like I had two heads.  She retorted, "whats the point of that?!  That's not what I'm doing this for, that's a waste of my time!  Why would you tell me that?  That's why I ask you to help!"  Oh my friends!  How I wish I could just take the pain and fear away!

I KNOW it hurts!  I have been there, I promise.  I have seen hours of hard work get tossed away by an errant mark, or spill of paint over my work.  But it doesn't have to be the end of the world.  A seasoned artist will work with it.  It might turn out to be crap later, but its not crap now until you've tried and collaborated with your mistake.  I had this assignment in class once, and I was on the final brush strokes in the background.  I only needed to add in a few more long strokes down the length of the paper in a FAINT watery purple.   I was almost done!  I took my one inch brush, the biggest I had, got the paint and ran it down in a long quick stroke and gasped.  It was this DEEP, DARK, INTENSE wide purple line running right down the right side of my paper, and I could do nothing but stare at it. It was clearly a mistake.  It stood out like a bruised cave stalactite hanging from the upper edge of my piece, just screaming to be noticed.  I repeat, I could do nothing. 


In watercolor, the only way of fixing an error is:

-Return to white with overpainting of opaque white gouache

-Scratch it out down through the unstained paper layers.

-Or go with it, somehow


I'm sure my teacher would understand so I went with it.  I hung it up for her critique.  "Nice distribution of color, I especially like the intense line that breaks it up on the right."  I looked at her like she had two heads.  "You like that line?"  I almost had to laugh to keep from crying.  I had to confess that it was a complete accident and I didn't know what else to do but leave it there to accept my fate.  She laughed and told me that happy accidents happen, and can often be dealt with by using them rather than avoiding them.  In my case, the accident cured the monotony of the rest of the work.  It ADDED interest, just by being glaring and unique to the whole.

Now I say this to you, as I said to my co-worker, you can paint like you're having fun and be carefree enough to roll with the accidents, even appreciate their unique value, or you can stress out about everything you do and end up throwing a lot of it away, which is the real waste.   The fear of failure will eat you alive.  The stress to be perfect will find you frozen in time.  The more power you give these demons the more power they have over your work, or lack of it.  Be free!  Use the colors you want!  Remember that kid inside that rolled with the punches and never stopped for mistakes.  Remember how inexperienced your art was because no one ever called it bad ( at least I hope not!) and that it was enough to be creating and having fun.

Thanks so much for following me along on this process video, I hope you got some useful tips or enjoyed watching at least!  Let me know in the comments what you think, or  if there is something you want to see me do next!

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About the Artist

 I would call myself a Jack of all Trades, but mostly because I'm interested in many areas of art if not all!  I graduated with a BFA in Fine Art from the University of North Texas with a focus on Watercolor.   I always had dreams of creative writing, and in 5th grade I wasn't too bad!  Art clearly won out for my attention, but writing will always have a place in my heart!

What better way to write, I say,  than to share a blog, and practice my second love while talking about my first! With that said, I hope you all enjoy my ramblings and please hit me up with any questions.  :D  Contact me!

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