anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dabbling in Watercolors

A little while ago one of my good friends sent me a sweet message on Facebook, thanking me for my blog and requesting a post about how I got into watercolors. 

I was so grateful for that message. Seriously guys, running a blog is a lot of work, and a lot of times it seems like it isn't affecting anyone or helping anyone. Anytime I hear back from people that they read my blog or that they like a post it makes me feel like just maybe I'm not wasting my time. 

I feel like I am still so bad at watercolors, just a brand new beginner myself, but here are a few things that I've used to get better at it, and to learn more. 

First things first, give yourself permission to play. To mess up. To be bad at it even. One of the most encouraging posts that I read was a post where the author encouraged beginning watercolor artists to play around. She talked about how when she began watercolors she was worried about wasting time, wasting paper and materials (basically wasting money). Then she gave herself permission to play. That will do more for you than I think almost any tutorial or technique you can read about because it will give you the space to master them. 

Basic Supplies:

Watercolor paints
Paper (Preferably watercolor paper)

When I started out doing watercolor I was using a Crayola watercolor set (still use it actually) and a pack of about 20 brushes that I got for maybe $3 at Walmart. I had no idea that there was such a thing as watercolor paper. I didn't know anything about what a quality set of watercolors was. I had no palette (still on my wishlist!), and I had no fancy brushes. I naively set out thinking I was so cool with my little set of paints. 

I'm kind of grateful for my naive mindset. It kept me from worrying about what I "needed" to start. I didn't wait until I had tubes of watercolor or nice brushes or even the "right" kind of paper. In fact, from my own personal experience, I'd only recommend that you get watercolor paper. Everything else doesn't need to be fancy or expensive, you can get fancy and expensive later, but the paper makes a HUGE difference. I personally have only used cold pressed paper, but I plan on trying hot pressed at some time in the future :)

My Favorite Supplies:
Canson Watercolor Cold Pressed Paper*
Colore Watercolor Painting Kit*
Aquash Water Brush*

*These are affiliate links. No change in price for you, but if you buy through the link, I receive some compensation. I hope that even if you don't buy something through these links, they might give you an idea of what you might want to use! 
Another thing that has really helped me as I've worked through learning watercolors is Pinterest. It's easy for me to find projects that I want to do, or tutorials and save them for later. HERE is a link to my watercolor board, and below I've linked some of my favorite links that I've used to learn more about watercolors.

8 Watercolor Techniques (Salt is actually one of my favorite things to use with watercolors!)
How to paint watercolor Agate Slices
How to Paint Watercolor Flowers
How to Use a Waterbrush

I still feel like such a newbie. I see people do things all the time that I'd like to know how to do, but that's ok. Never stop learning! I feel like one of the wonderful things about starting a new hobby is that you don't think you're above learning a new technique or trying something different, after all, it's all new!

Here are some things I still want to learn:
1. How to do a watercolor galaxy
2. How to use masking fluid
3. An effective way of drying my work (I HATE sitting there waiting for it to dry so that I can do the next step)
4. How to use watercolor pencils
5. How to better avoid warping of my paper that I'm working on (I've tried taping it down, but I must need to find a different tape because it pulls up the top layer of my paper!)

Beyond that, there are about a million things I've tried that I want to perfect! I'm definitely still learning, and I'm ok with that. 

Just remember that you can do this! No one starts out amazing. You're beginning work has no bearing on whether you are talented or whether you can get good at watercolors. One thing I always tell myself is that even if I start today, then a year from now, I'll have been doing it a year. Five years from now I'll have been doing it for five years. You can only get practice and skills by STARTING. 

Good luck! I hope you try it out, or something else that you've wanted to try!

What will you START today?

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