A roundup of my #30x30DirectWatercolor2019 pieces.
21 pieces in total.
My big take-aways and learning?
Working outside my comfort zone
Never a comfortable thing to do, often frustrating. (So many times I wanted to reach for a pen because I know how to finish a piece and keep it fresh when I mix in pen & ink.) Getting to what I can call “done” in watercolor alone often results in overworked pieces.
But, it did get easier to work in big shapes over the course of the challenge. I think there are shape-thinkers and line/edge-thinkers. We all can do both but we are often stronger at working one way over the other. And I’d like to get to where I see/work better both ways, and use them to complement each other. Towards that goal, working just in shape helped.
The no-drawing bit
I never draw a detailed pencil drawing if I’m working in pen & ink and watercolor. But I’ll often make a loose drawing or markings in pencil to make sure my focal points fall where I want them to or to keep things in proportion or just to help compose better. And I really missed what those sort of marks on paper bring to my work. Drawing like this actually helps me paint more freely, knowing I have design and composition figured out.
If I do the challenge again, I’d draw a loose underdrawing. In the spirit of direct watercolor and in a way that won’t confine me.
For once I let a challenge stay unfinished because I needed to move on. It is strange to consider that a win, but I can end up feeling like I have to finish challenges no matter what. Work projects, the fact that I leave on a family vacation in a couple of days, and then to go teach at the Urban Sketchers Symposium a few days after that… all of this meant there were a lot of loose ends outside the challenge that needed tying up. And for once I switched gears and am working on all of that now, instead of the challenge.
And amazingly, it was still a great challenge, one I learn a lot from, and looking back at the set above, produced 21 pieces. 21 more than I would have if I didn’t do the challenge at all.
How do you feel about challenges in general? Do they help or hinder you? How?
And if you did this challenge, how did your challenge go? What did you learn from it? And will you do it again next year?