Today marks ‘Day 928 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day’ and I am happy to report that I haven’t missed a day of my ‘Daily Art Practice’ since I started this journey.
I’ve learnt a lot (with much still to learn) and feel that overall I have progressed, though I have had many ‘plateaus’ on the way.
On occasions, people ask me, ‘so, what’s the goal?’ ‘Are you trying to reach 1,000, 2,000 or more?’ My answer remains the same… ‘my goal is to do a sketch a day and to endeavour to improve my skills.’
This weekend, after posting a sketch, one of my photographer friends commented that he felt I had improved a lot with my A5 daily sketches and suggested that it might be time to cut back on the daily sketches and concentrate over doing one A4 painting a week.
This thought has some merit to it, I must admit. I’m still mulling over that one and feel that I have three options:
Keep going as I am
Do one A4 per week as suggested and drop the daily sketches
Do one A4 on the weekend and do daily sketches during the week
Am feeling that I would like to continue my daily art practice and I suppose that it doesn’t have to take the form of a Watercolour sketch every day (and posted to Instagram). I can see the merits also of pulling back and concentrating on larger paintings though, too.
Sometimes along a journey you wonder whether you are improving or not. I remember this happened with Toastmasters early on. I was going along to meetings, writing, rehearsing and giving speeches, taking on roles etc and after three months, I wondered it was having an effect?
A colleague I worked with at the time suddenly said one day, ‘David, you are appear to have greater confidence these days, what’s the secret?’ I knew then that going to Toastmasters had started to affect me in a positive way.
With my Watercolour sketches I have wondered the same thing, although it is easier in one way to gauge improvement as I have tangible evidence in the form of previous Watercolour sketches.
During lockdown last year I did 120 YouTube tutorials in a row and occasionally, I do more. One of the ways I am trying to gauge improvement is to go back to a tutorial but not actually ‘do the tutorial.’
Instead, what I do is sketch the image and do the painting without watching the tutorial. This way, I am trying to gauge what I can do without the step-by-step instruction to see how close I can get to the one I did when I did the tutorial.
Today’s Watercolour sketch (Day 727) is an example of that. I did the tutorial (Nil Rocha Art) back on Day 500. I have added a couple of shrubs and there are some other elements which I have changed but I am pretty happy with the result. I would love to reach the skill level of the tutorials. More practice required!
I’m happy with my progress with Watercolour in general and with Line and Wash, however, I am looking forward to the time I can do a face-to-face Watercolour course with a professional. I was due to start a 10 week course like this when Covid hit.
I’ve been using Winsor & Newton Cotman Half-Pans for over two years now. I’m thinking that maybe it is time to jump to Artist quality paints and have purchased a set of Primaries.
Still have so much more to learn. Still having so much fun! 🙂
Back on 26 January 2019 when I started this ‘Daily Art Practice’ I could never have imagined that I would do it for 30 days straight, let alone 706…
I have no ‘lofty number goal’ in mind, I just aim to do ‘a sketch a day.’ Mostly, they are done upon rising, sometimes during the day and, less often at night these days. I believe it’s a great way to start a day.
From very early on it was like a form of meditation for me. I also wanted to learn the Watercolour and the Line and Wash mediums and was frustrated that I was only getting to do a sketch every 1-2 weeks because I thought, ‘that I didn’t have time…’.
We often think that, ‘we don’t have time’ for things. Often, when they become a priority, we do have the time.
I was asked a question recently in one of Art groups I’m on Facebook. ‘What is the one thing that you have learnt so far?’ My answer was that, ‘I have learnt that I have still so much to learn.’
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about this more and I feel that I could add some more answers to that question for the answer is more than, ‘just one thing’ so here goes…
It appears that I am in the process of developing a style or two
Favourite subjects to sketch and paint are starting to appear
From tutorials (especially) I am learning all sorts of wonderful colour combinations
Prior to embarking on this daily art practice, painting shadows were a weak point for me (still have a way to go with them but I’m improving)
The practice is encouraging me to ‘go outside my comfort zone’ in terms of subject matter and technique
On top of this it is building my confidence in sketching and painting. When I was a child I wasn’t very good at sketching, drawing or painting. I’ve dabbled over the years and my last real attempt (at sketching) before now was back in the early 90’s but as ‘Photography was King’ in my life it didn’t get much of a ‘look-in.’
Prior to lockdown I was about to do a 10 week Watercolour course which was, of course cancelled so during lockdown I did a YouTube tutorial for 120 days in a row. I’ve subscribed to two artists, Nil Rocha Art and Peter Sheeler. I would highly recommend both.
Recently, I started going back and re-doing some of the subject matter in the tutorials but without doing the actually tutorials as I want to see how much I’ve learnt and how I am applying it to the subjects.
One of my interests is Watercolour. I had a bit of a dabble in Watercolour back in 2010, however, I was steered towards Acrylic by my well-meaning Mother-In-Law (whom I get on very well with and we have the same sense of humour), who has painted in Acrylics/Oil for more than 40 years.
About 18 months ago I started using Watercolour Pencils and Aqua Wash Pens and this led me (almost 12 months ago) to purchasing a set of Cotman Watercolours (40 Half-Pans) but I was struggling to fit in one sketch a fortnight.
There are many reasons that I love the medium of Watercolour e.g. the transparency of the medium reminds me of Photographic Slides; it is unpredictable; no two images will be the same; it is quick to do a sketch on the run and it is so much fun.
I know I have much to learn and I know that the only way to improve is to practice more, so to this effect, last Australia Day, 26 January, I decided that I would attempt to do a Watercolour Sketch a day.
Thus far, I am 7 out of 7 and have included my first 7 attempts below.
For more inspiration, I’ve also joined the World Watercolor Group on Facebook that is run by Charlie O’Shields of Doodlewash fame. Over 25,000 Watercolour Artists are members of the Group.
There is much for me to learn and I am so looking forward to continuing this Watercolour Journey!
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month