Hydrangea Watercolor For Her Birthday, Our Card of the Week

Hydrangea Birthday for Her Card of the Week 7 17 17

Usually the disclaimers come last in any acceptable article, but this post starts with them.

  1. Confession:  I’ve never painted with watercolors before.
  2. If I can do it, anyone can.  And watercolors are can be so beautiful, you really should try it.
  3. These aren’t even real watercolor paints-from-a-palette or tube.  They are the best invention for newbies ever: watercolor pencils.  (That doesn’t mean it’s perfect the first time, though. Show me some mercy.)
  4. The card pictured here is my first painting, but don’t worry.  We’re not selling it.  Only the ones that came later and passed the kimenink-keeper-test get to go out and find friends.  (She’s pretty strict, Kim is.)

Here’s the first card up close and personal, happy just the way she is.  It’s a choice, you know, to be happy just the way you are.  And to put yourself out there? even if you’re not perfect?  That’s courage, friends.  Pure, raw chutzpah.  (Yeah, I’m kinda proud of that word. Don’t ask me to say it aloud, though.  I don’t know Hebrew from Sanskrit.)

Wishes On Your Birthday

wishes on your birthday watercolor hydrangea lavender card image

She is really quite sweet, isn’t she?  Except for the strange, straight brush strokes on top.  Like she got too close to a static-infused hairbrush.  And the muddy wash in the corners.  I think it was a cloudy day.

On my journey through ten little paintings, I learned a little bit.  I thought I would share that journey with you, kind of like a journal to myself for the next batch I paint.

How To Paint With Watercolor Pencils

Or Maybe:
How Not to Paint With Watercolor Pencils

second try painting hydrangeas and my all time favorite

This was, get ready for it, my SECOND try at painting hydrangeas.

I know, I couldn’t wait to show it to you, because it is the best of ten.

I just love how there are white spaces.  That means just the right amount of water.

And see that almost leaf on the right?  Just what I wanted.

And the non-blending on the other leaves?  From what I have been studying and learning, you should let the water take the paint.  Don’t overwork the blending, or the brushwork.  So, I give these leaves a pretty high score.

Flash Flood Warnings

too much water on hydrangea painting


What are you doing to me?  Help, I’m drowning!

Yeah, sorry.  I went to the complete, opposite extreme on number 3 compared to number 2.

What was I thinking?

I not only spritzed the poor dear to get her colors to blend, but I then went and added more water with the brush.

Please.  Never treat a perfectly good hydrangea like that.

Be aware of how much (or how little) water it takes to get the right effect.

Pencil Lines Equals Epic Fail

pencil lines are a fail painting with watercolor

I was going all efficient and made a pattern outline to draw all my pictures the same for mass production.

That’s when I found out that you never, ever put color over pencil lines.  Even the tiniest bit of light yellow will keep you from being able to erase.

You can place color next to pencil lines, then erase, then add water.

Or better yet, don’t use pencil.  I could have just as well used a sharp watercolor pencil, with much better results.  This was try number 7.

And I felt as if I was back in watercolor kindergarten.  By number 7 I thought I might be almost ready for Grade One, but this blew that anticipation.

Wow, Easy on the Darks, There

too dark, too stark painting hydrangeas

First the good:  I love the background wash in the corners.  Not too muddy, and showing both flower colors.  And leaf colors in the bottom.  Better yet would be some bits of green on top, too, and bits of flower color on the bottom.

The Bad:  The flower is too perfect.  It has some white, high score there.  But the outline of the shape is not blending into the leaves.  It’s just sitting there, all uncomfortable and feeling out of place.  Needs to be some running of color into the leaves, and vice versa.

The Ugly:  That brown.  Sigh.  I wanted contrast, and didn’t have the right green, but dark chocolate brown?  No, not on watercolor pastel-desired-outcome.  Next time:  buy another green.

Another A for Effort

getting there painting hydrangeas

This one is so close to amazing. Nice flower. Well, maybe a little curvy on the bottom. But the colors are nice. Good highlights.

The main problem is that glow on top. Friends, this is a flower, not an angel.

Or did someone fertilize with too much phosphorus? Glow in the dark effect.

A waste of a perfectly good painting.

The take away: There’s no painting over to hide a mistake with watercolors.

I figure my score was 20% on this run. Not a good start.

But live and learn.

And tomorrow is another day for painting.

Can anyone share some good teachers or books or tutorials about watercolor painting? I’m in the market.