I watched a video on Artist Network TV called “A Little Watercolor” with Karin Huehold and was inspired to try out her instructions. She proposes that instead of focusing on one large picture–makes you afraid to make mistakes–that instead you should paint many, many tiny pictures. She actually paints about 72 in the video. She claims that this is a great exercise to get you started because it removes fear from the table. If you don’t like what you’ve painted, then just toss it out and move on!
I really liked this idea because I am my own worst enemy and a great procrastinator. So I found my watercolor paper pad and cut it up into many small squares. I taped each one as she instructed, then left them sitting on my painting desk for easy access. Well, I looked at them for a couple of days before deciding I had nothing to lose and probably everything to gain by trying this out.
It is not only freeing, but it is really fun! I found that I could paint a couple of them in about 15 minutes and then go do something else needing to be done. It was not a big production. I actually found myself painting on these little squares at various times throughout the day when I had a few minutes of down-time. Now these are not ever going to be masterpieces–but for exercise and experimentation, for learning about your watercolor paints, for breaking through that BLOCK we creatives sometimes get–this is a wonderful way to deal with getting yourself started.
I found myself playing with color and technique that I had seen but never tried. I learned how my paints work together and independently. I know which paints lift off easily and which tint the paper so you cannot actually lift it off. I learned which of my paints is the boss of the other paints, because when I use it, it pushes the others away.
I recommend that anyone watch this video. It is about an hour long, but you don’t have to watch the entire thing to understand the premise. Artist Network TV is a subscription site but it only costs $19.99 and month and they have super videos for you to watch.