23 Comments

  1. Cindy Corcoran
    July 30, 2017 @ 11:25 am

    Angela you are truly the inspiration that keeps me painting! Your courses, your YouTube videos and daily blog mean a great deal to me. I appreciate what you’ve done for me! I’ll keep practicing making magic happen!
    I also have to comment on your color choices which are stunning!

    Reply

  2. Diane O
    July 30, 2017 @ 11:42 am

    After years of acrylic painting, I started watercolors in April and liked it better than expected. However, it’s nearly August and I feel like I’m not improving and am wondering if this is the medium for me. Is it too soon to see improvement? I keep having the gnawing feeling I’ll plateau and continue with mediocre paintings. I have doubts that I have enough patience or control of the medium. I’m trying to lower my expectations and just enjoy the process, but when the end result doesn’t please me, I’m so disappointed.

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:38 am

      I believe in something I like to call the “obstacle cycle.” This feeling of struggling for a long time, with no visible improvement has happened to me many times. What I like to do is repeat to myself, “You are in a learning phase, and a breakthrough is right around the corner.” This has always proven true, and these learning phases are followed by a sweet time of exciting outcomes before the next learning phase starts!
      A few things you should do during this learning phase:
      1. Play. Give yourself lots of opportunities to just use watercolour with no expectation of success. Make messes as you learn what the boundaries are, what watercolour can and can’t do.
      2. Small victories. Challenge yourself, but also keep things simple. If you are continually choosing difficult subjects, or working on complete paintings, take the time to work with simple studies and sketches, and paint things you know you are good at, so you have successes to keep you encouraged.
      3. Relax. New painters will often see very quick growth at first, and then feel like they’ve plateaued. Moving from zero experience to some experience is going to show faster results than moving from “some knowledge” to “mastery.” After 20 years of painting, I can’t see my growth at all, yet I know I’m still growing and learning, it’s just like an Olympic athlete is looking to share milliseconds off their time rather than minutes. The better you get, the harder it is to see actual growth in the short-term.

      Reply

  3. Kathee Geisel, RN
    July 30, 2017 @ 1:35 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to read today.. TY for this. I feel the same as Diana O. Going from acrylics to watercolor has truly been a challenge and a struggle, but I do enjoy the medium more than acrylics..it’s a fun medium. I’ll always use acrylics, but watercolor is my new endeavor, and painting in watercolor is just so amazing and beautiful thst one cannot achieve with other mediums. I know I will eventually get the hang of it.. I think I’m just too impatient right now, and I too get so disapointed with what I paint.Your encouragement means so much to me. Thanx again.

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:38 am

      You will get there! I gave a longer answer to Diana, but the upshot is that we have to trust the growth is happening, even when we can’t see it.

      Reply

  4. Jo ann miller
    July 30, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

    Angela you are truly amazing and always so encouraging. I do feel at times you are speaking directly to me. I do love painting but do feel progress is slow or non existent. Since I discovered you a year or so ago I do practice more and paint more. I seem to take a step forward and then a couple of steps backwards but I am painting and am enjoying the process — all thanks to you. I will keep painting and enjoying it.

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:40 am

      I often feel this way after an intense learning period – like a workshop or art retreat – there is so much to take in that I feel like I regress in my painting as I absorb it all and learn to use it. It’s okay! You are still moving forward and since you can’t make it faster for you, you might as well enjoy the journey!

      Reply

  5. Leslie Abel Waite
    July 30, 2017 @ 4:07 pm

    Angela,
    Reading the comments above, it seems we all feel the same about your encouragement Right now it looks as if you have reached out to two former acrylic painters. Like me, your thoughts and feelings about the love, and magic, of watercolors came at just the right time for them (Diane O & Kathee)!!

    Right now I am looking at the first wash of…wild roses??!!! I am LOVING the way the colors blends and flowed…BEAUTIFUL…Do not know if my wild roses will even look like flowers…But after over a year of doing watercolors along side of you…I am able to enjoy!!…and to heck with those gone by days, of beating myself up!!

    As always, THANK YOU!!!

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:41 am

      Thank you, Leslie! We need to encourage each other, and that helps us keep moving and know we’re not alone! One thing that I think is really wonderful is when I get to see paintings by people who really are skilled at showing their LOVE of watercolour in every brush stroke. Jean Haines is a great example, and when we put aside our own fear of failure, we can learn to paint with the same joy and love.

      Reply

  6. Vickie Behrens
    July 30, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

    I am passionate about watercolors. I love looking at other’s art work, I love watching artists I admire demonstrating their work and I truly love learning and painting. I am a beginner and probably will consider myself to be a beginner for many years to come, because I can see that there is so much to learn. It’s really the first thing I tried and never wanted to give up. It’s been about 3 years since I took my first class and I am still painting as often as I can. Oh yes, there are many paintings that disappoint me, but once in a while, I surprise myself. And when that happens, I can’t help wondering how it happened, itamazes me and keeps me going. Thanks for your encouragement and your inspiring blog and website!

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:46 am

      Those magical paintings are wonderful when they happen! I keep showing up in the studio hoping I’ll get another one today…
      There is no mile marker that will tell you you’re not a beginner any more; after all these years I still feel like a student of watercolour. After teaching many workshops, I still have a list of teachers I’d love to take a workshop with. So I try not to worry about my status and how I measure up next to other artists, and just keep doing my own thing in my own little corner of the world, and loving watercolour for watercolour’s sake. It’s more peaceful that way!

      Reply

  7. Jan Corcoran
    July 30, 2017 @ 5:13 pm

    Thank you Angela. I’ve been watching your you-tube channel and videos for some time. So much so that my kids keep telling me to stop watching and paint!! I also have enrolled in a couple of courses – I am very encourage by your teaching, and very much am drawn to the loose painting style. I enjoy this summer challenge because it puts a little bit of pressure on me to drop other less important things and pick up my paints – which I love so much. Thanks again!

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:47 am

      Don’t let me be the reason you don’t have time to paint! I’m happy to be able to encourage and instruct other watercolour-lovers, and it’s been fun to see the summer challenge meet my goals of helping us keep painting over the summer as well as giving away some great prizes!

      Reply

  8. Cathy Wiken
    July 30, 2017 @ 6:22 pm

    Ah! You got me with the comparison of a pianist. I am a pianist, and I think of how I was at 3 years versus where I got after 15+ years!
    I think of the metronome ticking away constantly while I tried to get the correct timing of a piece down. I think of hearing my Father say to me “play that measure one more time, Cathy, then start the entire song over again and repeat, measure by measure until you have it right”. lol
    I can laugh now, but back then, as passionate as I was about the piano, there were times I wanted to give up. But my passion kept me going.
    I am passionate about watercolor. I hit a wall this past week, and this email, and the words were PERFECT timing! Plus, your latest video was fantastic. The style I’ve been striving to achieve.
    Thanks, Angela!

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 10:49 am

      I don’t know why it’s so easy to see the benefits of training in all other disciplines, and yet with art we tend to think it happens effortlessly! My daughter’s dedication to her piano practice is an inspiration to me, and I think that when we can say, “I’m just not going to quit, because I love it too much,” we free ourselves from feeling like we need to be “good enough” to deserve to paint.

      Reply

  9. Nancy Arenius
    July 30, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

    Angela, thank you so much for all your inspiration and encouragement! I have been trying to teach myself watercolor for 2 years. I am a perfectionist and love detail. I have been creating and selling detailed drawings (mostly portraits) all my life so trying to learn to paint loose water colors is very challenging for me. I started taking classes a year ago and do become frustrated when a painting does not come out as well as I want it to. Just when I am at the point where I think I should give up water color and stick to drawing, you post something encouraging that makes want to continue trying. 🙂

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      July 31, 2017 @ 2:45 pm

      Painting loosely is a good way to balance out those perfectionistic tendencies! Even if it doesn’t find its way into your regular style, it can strengthen your painting skills and give you all kinds of ideas to try. Mastering detail is just the other side of the coin – if you can paint with precision and control, you can learn looser expression too!

      Reply

  10. Miriam
    July 30, 2017 @ 9:14 pm

    Thank you…your words came at a time of artistic discouragement.

    Reply

  11. Dianne Middaugh
    July 31, 2017 @ 11:20 am

    I started seriously painting when I heard the comment about something else that they knew they had to do it because they couldn’t not do it! I love that so much. I just couldn’t not paint. I had to do it! I decided to dive in and really study as hard as I could to improve myself and become a watercolourist instead of just playing with it and wishing I knew how. thanks for your inspiration. love it! love it! It brings me joy to paint

    Reply

    • Angela Fehr
      August 1, 2017 @ 12:13 pm

      It’s amazing how that attitude of “who cares whether I’m good or not, I’m just going to do it!” frees us to explore and grow. And of course, when we just go for it, we get to also see the growth begin to happen and know it will continue as we practice and study. Love of watercolour is what unites every watercolourist!

      Reply

  12. Deborah Smith
    July 31, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

    Angela thank you for always encouraging us. I am not good at watercolors. Oils were the love of my life, but I have a daughter with severe seizures and I can’t invest that kind of time, hence I picked up watercolors after abandoning all art for 20+ years. As I continue to be the primary caregiver of an adult child with many difficulties I get short spurts of time to create. Watercolors give me the opportunity to fulfill creative desires and I am learning to love them!

    Reply

  13. Love and dating Logos
    August 18, 2017 @ 7:05 pm

    Cheers, a great read – added to favourites so will head back for new content and to read other people’s comments. Cheers again.

    Reply

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