I really have a love/hate relationship with this media. It is faster than lightening, with a mind of its own, and one had better to be ready to try and keep up – it is a very intense experience. I spend surprisingly little time during the whole process actually painting.
First, one needs an idea, next a sketch, and then getting the bare bones of the sketch onto that expensive watercolor paper (which itself often needs to be prepped and stretched in advance – more time). During all of these steps, my mind is busy thinking ahead and imaging how the painting process might unfold. At long last, I am ready to paint! Holding my breath, I put brush to water, and then to paint, and finally to paper. Faster than I can breathe, things begin to happen. The paint will do what it will do and hopefully I am cooperating with it enough for the results to form something pleasing.
Now, if my brain has planned well in advance, things like texture and lighting are turning out as hoped for. The five senses have also been experiencing things about what is being painted, and if any of that transfers for the eye to see – things get really exciting. So, I have now spent maybe an exhilarating one or two minutes really painting! and then, everything crashes to a halt, for now the stuff must dry before anything else can happen.
If things aren’t allowed to dry – the colors can run together and become a rather hideous and muddy disaster. Drying time can be long and frustrating! Some artists use hair drying appliances to hurry along the process, and I admire their courage. Whether I am right or wrong – I let time do its thing, fearing that applied heat might cause precious and fragile colors to fade. One of the first things I remember being told about watercolor is, “If it’s right when it’s wet, then it’s wrong!” This was so impressed upon me that I have “drying” issues and ere on the side of caution in hope of retaining any vibrancy of color.
Repeat process, over and over again, many times, and if you have the self-control, it’s always a good thing to step away for a long while and come back with a fresh eye. For me, that is when any action further needed is the most glaring.
When all is done, I personally record the painting, scan and save the scan, maybe share it online if I think it’s a result I can live with, maybe even like. Last, comes the matting of the ones that might see the light of day somewhere, sometime. Signing the painting – this is what I think of as the “Proud Parent Moment”, your child might go on to make your heart burst with pride, or cringe and love unconditionally as only a parent can do. THE END – that is until the addicting urge to put yourself through all of this again takes hold. Lest I have frightened or discouraged anyone from trying to paint with watercolors – please let me say this in conclusion, “It is SO worth it!” I feel most alive when I am painting! Well wishes for all success to you.