Illuminating the dark (Day 15 — 30 Day Art Project)

Day 15 of my 30 Day Art Project was a lesson in humility.

I have always avoided working with watercolors. The ‘story’ around them is, they’re hard.

Why do hard when I can do fun?

Being away from my studio and still wanting to stay on track with my 30 Day Art Project, I decided to invest in a small set of watercolor paints as they are easy to transport, only require water and paper to create.

But here’s the catch. I don’t know the basics of working with watercolors and have to learn them.

Learning a new technique depends on my capacity and willingness to learn through the process without trying to force the process to my way of doing. Because watercolor is such a different medium than acrylics, it requires thoughtful application — I can’t just throw some paint on the canvas and keep working it (as I tend to do with acrylics). With watercolor, understanding how water impacts the paint’s flow and how the light illuminates the dark, is critical to the creative process.

Patience is required.

Did I mention I’m not always that patient with myself when learning something new?

Yeah. Well. I’m not. Which is a bit of a self-defeating game.

It’s something my grandson is teaching me. Getting angry with myself because something isn’t going the way I expect it to, or because I don’t know how to do it, is not all that productive.

Watching my grandson learn to climb onto his tricycle, or climb the stairs is inspiring.

He’s taught me, it’s okay to fall down as you learn to do new things. The secret is to get back up and try again. To keep doing it until you’ve mastered the small parts and all the big parts of a task or skillset.

Like putting a lid on the bottle. The first try, it’s crooked. Second. Third. Same thing. and then, it goes on straight. Next, you have to figure out how to turn it so that it tightens.

It takes concentration, time and a willingness to keep doing it again and again. And while it’s okay to ask for or accept help, eventually, you still have to do it yourself to truly learn the lesson.

There’s a lot to learn in painting with watercolors. I’ve avoided them in the past because I’ve always heard they’re hard to work with.

Hard to work with doesn’t mean I don’t have the capacity to work with them. It just means I’ve never spent the time learning.

Learning something new is good for my brain and keeping my brain active and elastic is good for my health.

There is a saying, (I’m not sure who said it) that goes, “When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.”

Finding the joy in giving up control is a challenging lesson for me to learn.

I’m learning it.


The secret to enjoying it is to never give up on letting go.


14 thoughts on “Illuminating the dark (Day 15 — 30 Day Art Project)

  1. I am.learning forgiving I get so angry on them.for their studies that I end up saying hurtful things..and then feel guilty..but before i can go to apologize they come and hug me and say sorry for getting you so angry that u shouted at us


  2. Where in the Woman’s Golden Rule Book of Life does it say one has to adhere stringently to something or other. Your 30 day challenge did not stipulate consecutive days!? Creativity of any kind is not always spontaneous. There are periods where it needs a rest, a withdrawal from constantly pushing forward. Kudos for taking an unknown, in this instance, watercolours, to try and maintain that continuity. Methinks you have just inadvertently had a lesson from the Woman’s Golden Rule Book of Life – planning sometimes gets a curve ball thrown at it, catch it and you may be surprised at the outcome.
    PS – this may require a second bottle!


  3. Taking a class in watercolors was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It takes, patience, skill, patience, skill, practice and humility. One if lifeโ€™s greatest lessons. Be prepared to not shine ….. and learn ๐Ÿ™


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