Watercolor Dreams

Over three years ago a longing to learn to paint with watercolors began to grow inside of me. I bought watercolor paints and some paper and brushes, and they sat on a shelf waiting for me. Of course, my excuse was that I was working so many hours and had to go out of town often for work, and I wasn’t sure how to start. So about two years ago I bought a book about painting with watercolors. I think I made it through the first three chapters over the course of a few weeks on my days off before something interrupted the progress I was making. Eventually the paints and supplies got put into a box waiting for “someday” to come.

A year ago while making plans to visit my kids in New York, I thought it might be fun to take a watercolor class with my artist son. After checking online, I finally found a studio, Michiyo Art Studio, that offered one time beginner workshops in watercolor. Though my son had never worked with watercolor (and it wasn’t a medium he was particularly interested in), he loves spending time with his mom (he’s so sweet). We registered, and I was so excited. You can check out my son’s art on his website.

Melinda and Miss Tickles flew to NYC with me for a five day visit with my other daughter and granddaughter near the end of October 2012. My son, who is always on the go somewhere in the world, flew to NY about the same time. I was having a great time with my kids and eagerly looking forward to taking the watercolor workshop when Hurricane Sandy decided to threaten the east coast. In anticipation of the storm, NY transit decided to shut the subways down the day of our class, and Michiyo had to cancel her classes. I was very disappointed, but we were safe at my daughter’s. And because of the flooding at the airports, we ended up staying six days longer than planned. I really didn’t mind having to spend more time with my kids!

Since then, my job ended, Melinda and I started this blog, and my days are filled with creative activities. And the watercolors still sit in the box waiting. Every time I see a beautiful sky or sunset or flower I wonder how I could paint that in watercolor. I notice colors and shades and shadows and light and wonder how it would look in watercolor. And the watercolors still sit in the box waiting.

Last week my son blessed me with a trip to NYC, and the only day the watercolor workshop was offered was on the last day of my visit. I prayed no hurricane would decide to head our way before the end of the week! Though the east coast did have bad storms that day–we just had rain in the city.

I finally got to take a watercolor workshop from Michiyo.

Dan and I learned so much about watercolor in our workshop. Michiyo encouraged me to keep pursuing watercolor painting.

Michiyo Art Studio

Michiyo helping a student in our workshop.

Watercolor Workshop at Michiyo Art Studio
My son learning watercolor painting.

Watercolor 1
Early stages of my painting.

Watercolor 2

Adding waves to my painting.

Watercolor 3

Mountains, shrubs and trees added.

Watercolor 4

And finally some birds!

After interviewing many crafters in the past few weeks, most of whom tried many crafts before finding their “thing,” Melinda and I have been wondering what our “thing” was that we felt each of us were especially drawn to in expressing creativity. We love doing many creative activities and have so many more we want to try. After our painting class, my son and I talked about that.

For so long now I have been drawn to watercolor. It fascinates me. At the same time I think I have been fearful to really do it. What if I am no good? I want to be able to do it well. It’s easy to default to creative activities that I already know I can do well. I even feel no fear in trying new creative things and posting the results on the blog (even if they are not that great) in trying to encourage you (our readers) to find the creativity in yourselves.

Perhaps watercolor will be my “thing,” and that is why I am having a hard time starting. I have been fearful of failure. As long as the potential is sitting there in the box, I can continue to dream about doing it. I can paint great creations in my head without anyone being able to see whether or not I can really do it on paper. But now I have taken a class from a master watercolor artist who encouraged me to keep going. A few bricks have been knocked out of that wall of fear. I need to pull the watercolor supplies out of the box and paint and paint and paint until the bricks have all been knocked out. When we interviewed Skip and Racheal Mathews, we found out Skip determined to make 15,000 flame painted butterflies in order to perfect the process when he was first learning to flame paint. If I really want to be a master watercolor artist, do I have that kind of determination? I have to start… and then keep going…


Watercolor Dreams — 1 Comment

  1. Good for you, Jan. I wish I had more of Dad’s watercolor paintings. He did a neat one of Sonora High, but gave it to friends in Sonora.