Back Bay / watercolor


I don’t call myself a professional artist, here’s one reason why.

This painting is really a flop. Lucky for me, as an amateur, it doesn’t matter when a painting doesn’t work out. If I was a pro it would be a big embarrassing waste of time to goof around with something for hours, then I don’t like it. If I only knew what I was doing I could be good.  Yeah, I could be real damn good, but I’ll have to practice because doing watercolors isn’t as easy as the pros make it look.

I’ve taken a couple watercolor classes in the past and I might do that again, but I have a feeling it takes years to master watercolor.  I might buy some magazines and see if I can get tips. Or, if you have any advice, dear reader, I’d appreciate it.

I did this at home. I’ll go to Back Bay and try again in another beautiful spot.





18 thoughts on “Back Bay / watercolor”

  1. I could show you some really horrible paintings I have made in watercolour, Chris, but the fact remains, there’s something very freeing and, well, artistic, about taking a small paintbox and pad of watercolour paper, sticking it in your back pocket and going and sitting on a beach somewhere and watching the sun go down while you try to keep up with it with your little waterbrush!

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  2. Chris, I heard the watercolourist Elaine Goodman discuss watercolour. She said she was the most difficult medium because it is so difficult to control. Jerry Pinkney, another master watercolourist, said that one has to work with the medium. It sounded like a marriage, a sort of dance between two forces.

    So I don’t think you should be so harsh on yourself. You’ve produced a good effect here. Sarah

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  3. Hmm, gosh, I love it. The way the grasses seem to bloom on the water, almost like yeast in a bowl, it seems alive and rising… love the glowing colours, textures, like spring is breathing out from winter…

    only thing my eye wants to “fix,” if I were to get nit-picky, is to make that small line of green grass a tip a tiny bit longer along its bottom right edge, enough to touch and follow the blue water dashes just beneath, for a bit more balance in the big picture…

    but I’m certainly no expert.

    I love reading about your process, thanks for sharing with us, xo n

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  4. The challenge with watercolor, more than most other media, is paint handling. It requires a lot of failed fooling around to get an accurate feel for the thickness/transparency of your paint, the wetness of your brush when you lay it on what might be one of a hundred different kinds of paper that all react differently, the rate that what you’ve just laid down is drying so you can decide if and when you want to glaze over it, and even whether you want to create a pool of water on the paper first and then drop color into it–randomly or otherwise. The educational part is most appreciated by people who just enjoy experimenting. The perfectionists won’t have much fun until their experiments have been codified into a predictable sequence of events. You can have a lot of fun with watercolor at first if you are not intent on being perfect. If you are the perfectionist, you will have to be amenable to giving the process a lot of time. It also helps speed along the process if you concentrate on one genre that particularly interests you, such as only distant landscapes, or only fruit still lifes, or only moving water, etc, until you get a feel for that, and then move on to the next challenge.

    Oh yes, and I have my own personal stack of watercolor disasters, mainly because I never throw anything away.

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    1. That makes sense. I was kind of wondering if the medium requires control or abandon, could I find some control over it, then abandon it. I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, so I might fool around with it more often.
      Today I thought the thing I dislike most about this attempt is the forced color, as the scene is really mostly shades and tints of gray, and I’m not a fan of unnatural colors in a landscape painting.
      I got another one started today but I’ll have to work on it at home because the beach has a huge concert going for 3 days and if I drive out it will be too hard to get back in. 25,000 to 30,000 people are expected. Roads will be closed, and traffic will be bad.
      I like to pitch the ones that don’t work out. Tossing some today!
      Thanks for the info, Alli.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Get to know your paints: how they move, dilute, granulate, create patterns. Introduce them to the paper – wet and dry – and they’ll likely create interesting effects by themselves. Oils are controlled; watercolors are guided. Think edges – sharp or fuzzy and values: contrast/ direction / location. Hope this helps!

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