Three Examples of Violets Painted Loosely in Watercolor

Over the past few years, I've thought a lot about what I want my paintings to say. Even when I wasn't painting much my tastes were still developing. I began to recognize the elements of watercolour that interested me the most, and realized that, while creating realistic paintings was achievable for me, it wasn't what I really wanted to do. I get bored with fussing over detail! What excites me is fluidity, transparent colour, and the energy of allowing water and pigment to "play" on the paper. To my watercolour students, I like to talk about the artist as collaborating with water and paint, and it's much more fun than trying to master the elements with rigidity and discipline.

This week I created three paintings of violets. How pretty they are! And how fun to paint! I really wanted to be free to explore with these studies, and learn from each one. I received Jean Haines's book, Atmospheric Watercolours, in the middle of study #2 and realized as I was reading it that some of the techniques she was describing were ones I had just figured out during this study.

One misconception I have carried with me over the years was that the best wet-in-wet style blending occurs when the paper is saturated with clear water, and then the colour is added. I've realized this week though that wet-on-dry washes can be much more fun, because you can play with the edges a lot more. (I'll have to post a video soon to show you what I mean!)

This last painting was created after reading Haines' book for the first time, and I challenged myself to leave more of the white of the paper, to not "fuss" after laying colour down, and, most important, to "only paint half the detail you think you need." I want to do this more! Looking at this last study on the screen, I think I would have benefited by making my violets bigger so only three or four fill the purple-blue wash area. Next time?

One more thing for you; I did a little video showing some of my process in adding detail to the second violet study. I videotaped the painting of the first study as well but it is seriously long and BORING. We'll see if I can get it shorter and cut out the dull parts - I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by this weekend! I spent my Saturday getting blisters mowing the lawn; the push mower is a workout, for sure, and my husband stole our riding mower and is using it to run his wood splitter. My legs were tired already from soccer Friday night (we lost) and so tomorrow I am going to take it easy and enjoy the Sunday School picnic at the lake after church.