Learning Watercolours…

In 2016, I decided to sketch every day for an entire year. And I did that! It was a big challenge to stick to but I did it! Since then, I’ve kept at my art in one way or another. It’s been tricky between working full time and Being An Adult but I’m so glad I have a hobby that’s all my own.

For my birthday this year, I asked for contributions towards a monthly drawing and watercolour class called ‘Fur and Feathers’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh. I’ve done one or two classes before and had some very mixed results with them but I was excited to try this one because (as I’m sure is apparent by the number of zoo posts I’ve done over the years) I love animals. I have very little experience with painting at all but, I thought to myself, my love of animals will trump this!

So it turns out the drawing part was pretty straightforward, albeit more technical than I was used to; there was a lot of measuring using compasses and rulers and double checking references using a light box. As I have more of an affinity to illustration, this was a nice challenge to slow down and study the reference properly – a wild rabbit.

The less nice challenge was when we started to paint! What a remarkable learning curve. I’m grateful that I already had experience with the initial learning curve with drawing as that is what got me through the learning curve with this rabbit painting!

Each class, we’d observe the tutor do an expert replication with exact precision of a particular part of the rabbit. Then we’d go off to do the same (with varying results).

Fine details are what got me the most, requiring the precision of defusing a bomb except using a medium that in its nature is fluid and unpredictable.

But as they say, practice makes perfect. Having had time away from this bunny, I can safely say I don’t hate it as much as when I shoved it into my bag once I decided I was finished with it! You can definitely tell it’s a rabbit!

In December, we had a mini prompt in the form of this lil mouse.

I’m at the frustrating stage with any new art skill where I can now see the differences between my piece and an expert piece but don’t have the skill level to do much about it!

Which means practice, practice, practice!

My course runs all the way to June so there’s lots of time to improve still. In between classes I’ll be trying my hand at more watercolours (like Cleadon Hills below that I painted for my mum for Christmas) so watch this space, I guess! Here’s hoping that by the time June comes around I’ll have come on leaps and bounds!

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