Monday, December 28, 2015

Arting is good for my brain

Over the past year, I've been practicing painting with watercolors.   It's good for me because watercolor has a mind of its own.   I have to surrender control...and at the same time being an artist is about being responsible for every single line on the page.   Making art is about making choices.    The whole process is a little paradoxical and that feels good in my head these days.   

I paint to be brave.   Actually, I do a lot of things to be brave, but painting requires me to really step out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways.   I don't feel confident sketching, making mistakes, letting go, learning to see the truth in the lie and not feeling like a liar, showing the art to other people, etc.

I love how my head feels when I paint.   The process puts my brain in a really good, non-emotional place.   This is especially important in the winter, when I'm not outside getting as much sunshine as I need and when I tend to brood.   Brooding is bad unless you're a bird.  Which I am not.  Even though my name is Robin.  

SO.   For the next while, I'm going to be posting my artwork on the blog.   I am not looking for approval, I'm just putting it out there so I can see it from a different perspective. 

The photos of my art won't be fabulous.   I paint when I can and that's often when the light is not great.  I paint anyway.  The photos aren't in great light either, but my goal with this is to get it posted, not get it ready for jurying into a show.   So I'm posting them anyway.  Feel free to ask questions. 

Notes:   I paint two or more paintings at a time because I hate waiting until things are dry to do more work on a piece and you kinda have to do that with watercolor.   With 2 paintings, I can work on one while the other is drying.  This was a great strategy!   Double the practice and I can try something a bit different on the other painting as ideas occur to me.   Bonus - I like different things about each one.  

I'm taking a watercolor class online via and many of these will be homework from the class.   The teacher is Mary Murphy.   I like her a lot and I like the way Craftsy lets you post projects, talk to each other, ask questions, etc.   I'll be doing a landscape painting class later with a different teacher.  I let you know when I start that.

Boat 9x12.  Watercolor.  December 2015

Goal:  Use a sponge for texture.
Execution:  Used a fine sponge for added detail in grass in foreground.
Learned:  I'm not a big fan of sponges, but now I know how to use one. 

Goal:  Use big brushes.
Execution:  I started with the bigger brushes [1" and 3/4" feel huge to me] for the background, then worked smaller as I went. 
Learned:  I love working this way on larger paper!

Boat 12x18.  Watercolor.  December 2015

Goal:  Use really big paper.
Execution:  Used really big paper.
Learned:  It was a lot more comfortable than I expected.  I need to start buying more big paper.

Goal:  Use Frog Tape to tape out sections of the foreground/subject so I can paint better backgrounds. 
Execution:  I used the yellow tape to tape out the boat, did the backgrounds, then pulled the tape off and did the boat.
Learned:  The tape trick totally works.   Will do it again for large areas.  [I also have the masking fluid for fine lines, small areas.]


  1. Congratulations on venturing outside your comfort zone! Maybe I will use this as encouragement to go outside mine - guitar lessons where you have to make terrible music in front of someone else!!

    1. Hi Claudia and Happy New Year! The comfort zone is such a nice place, I hate to leave it. My underlying goal is just not to care so much what other people think and this is my way of getting there. Painting feels really good and that is reward enough for now, which makes the lack of approval easier to bear. I hope you do take those lessons and rock your heart out.

  2. That's a great painting, and would match my basement décor really well. Can't wait to see what else you paint.

    1. Christopher, you are very kind. My goal is to get a lot more practice in this year. They keep telling me that the more you practice, the better your work gets.


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