After prepping the materials for my watercolour class which starts Tuesday night I started to get a little nervous. It’s always a little scary starting a teaching session – who am I to think I know enough about watercolour to teach? Painting on my own is scary enough; I never get through a painting without freezing in panic at least once, certain that my next brushstroke will ruin the whole thing. It makes me feel a lot better to know that I am not the only painter who feels this way – Mike Bailey has blogged about the same thing, and he’s president of the National Watercolor Society! I highly recommend his post on Breaching Fear.
Anyhow, I am excited because I videotaped my supply list! I bought a little video camera last week and tried it out yesterday. I really want to post some watercolour tutorial videos – you get to enjoy free lessons on what I had to learn the hard way, through trial and error.
Once upon a time, I was an aspiring watercolour painter with one workshop under my belt. What brought me from inexperience was time and – dare I say it – experience. I sat on my couch nearly every evening, painting board on my lap, television on in the background, and painted. In two years, I saw a lot of growth, and through that time, I created over 70 paintings suitable for framing, which were displayed in my first solo exhibition. Looking back at the work I created then, I’ve grown further, and my style has changed and strengthened and yet I still feel uncertain. What does the future hold for my painting? Will I be able to continue to paint work I’m passionate about and proud of? Will people understand and connect with what I do?
What it comes down to in the end is love. I love watercolour. And today I strapped on cross country skis and joined my children in skiing into a beautiful apricot-violet sunset, and in my mind I mixed pigments and swirled colours, imagining just how I would paint that incredible scene. It’s not something that goes away, loving to paint.
I hope my students feel the same way as they begin their own watercolour journey on Tuesday night. I will tell them, right off: “If you love it enough, you will keep doing it. And as you keep doing it, you will become better.”
That’s what happened to me, after all.
Here’s a link to download a printable supply list of the materials I consider essential for watercolor painting.