Painting Better After a Long Winter’s Nap.

"A Blue Beckoning" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr

I took a long break from painting in watercolour after my children were born, and it was really  hard to get started again. Part of me just dreaded picking up a brush and adopting the identity of watercolour painter again because I believed that in taking a long break from painting I had lost ground. I expected that I would need to work hard to regain my skills again, climbing back to whatever “level” I was at before took my long hiatus.

How encouraging and exciting were Jean Haines’ words in her book Atmospheric Watercolours! I’m on my second reading of this wonderful painting guide, and it is much more than just a how-to book on painting expressively. Every paragraph in the book holds affirmation and encouragement to the artist. Haines insists that painting, no matter the skill level, need not be painful. Painting intuitively, freely and joyously can be done, and should be embraced.

I love this! Over the summer, as I’ve painted, I’ve not always felt free as I learn to master a looser style, but I have felt joyous. Even the paintings that quickly reveal themselves as destined for the waste basket have been fun to create, full of juicy colour and exploration.

Best of all, I’m not struggling to regain some former glory or skill level. What I am doing is new. It’s now. I am not the same artist I was ten years ago, and I love the song my brush is singing.

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