Here at The Sweet Spot, my desire is to share with you how I keep it sweet with various activities in my life and why they work for me. For today’s post, I’d like to talk about experimenting and why that has been an important aspect to my life as an artist and creative (and any other area of life, really!)
In the video above, I started with the mockingbird song but my main topic upon reflecting on my weekend activities, I shared about several experiments I undertook or am undertaking at the moment with my watercolor practice.
My first foray into watercolor began with a new art journal practice I initiated back is 2011, almost a decade ago! It was the perfect place to try my hand at, what was for me, a new medium, one that fascinated me and that I had great attraction to for many years.
One of my experiments after playing with it for a while was to determine if I could create an image with dots of color. I really enjoying using the stippling method with watercolor and thought how interesting it would be to try my hand as an actual painting on watercolor paper. I chose one of my favorite nature based subjects: the Mockingbird (which you can hear in the background on the above video as mentioned!).
So I found a good reference photo and tried my hand at it. I was quite surprised that despite the transparency, with many layers of colored dots, starting with the lightest hues and working my way to darker ones, that I was able to produce my desired result, which you can see below.
I was quite surprised and delighted with this experiment and wondered what else I should try rendering in the same fashion. When I chose to experiment with this approach, it broadened my knowledge and gave me opportunity to try something new and stretch myself as an artist. It also helped build my confidence with this new medium of watercolor, which I loved from the moment I played with it.
Another experiment which I indulged in earlier this year was to try my hand at doing a floral in watercolor. Now, I will admit, that I’m not much into florals, especially of the Still Life variety, with the vase approach, etc. I find those types of florals too static to be of interest to me (though there are many artists out there who do lovely work with that type of subject matter!)
No, I decided to go through my stash of saved images and found one from a calendar of a larger than life Rose, very close up shot in a garden. Now, that’s more to my liking. So off I went to discover the process of painting from light to dark, working my way around the rose each time I had a session. Most of those sessions were about an hour long.
It is such a satisfying process to see the progress of an image coming into form, one layer of watercolor at a time. Once the main layers were down, it got even more intense as I added textures and depth with the colors I mixed and applied with my paintbrush.
This was my first floral and I was very glad for the size of the image I chose that made it more focused on larger form and detail rather than a bunch of flowers together. It just worked for me.
Once that watercolor was finished (see below), I was pleased with the outcome of my experiment. It was so worth trying something new!
(Part of the reason I chose a floral was a suggestion from hubby; and I’m glad I went with it.)
My most recent experiment was a return to something I painted when I first started playing with watercolor. I found an image of slices of orange in a magazine and decided to try my hand as painting one slice from that image. I enjoyed the process immensely. And so this year, I decided to return to food as a subject and found an image from another magazine more recent of grapefruit halves, a very dynamic composition positing the virtues of grapefruit in all their juicy glory.
So I adapted the composition and decided on three grapefruits, one white grapefruit half and two red grapefruits halves.
My goal with this experiment was to capture the “Juiciness” of the flesh and the dimpled surface of the rind, hoping to create an image that looked good enough to eat!
So far I’ve completed one and will be starting another shortly. (Unless I decide to add more layers later; you never know!)
I am so enjoying this process of experimentation with watercolor, from different approaches to applying the color to different subject matter that I’ve never tried before or want to return to.
It really is about listening to my Curiosity and giving space to my creative indulgences, really having Permission to make that time to do something that is truly Satisfying, which is one of my prerequisites for what I consider to be a Sweet Spot in my life. The more I engage is those Sweet Spots, the Sweeter my life becomes.
My questions for you: do you ever get a hankering to experiment with something? Have you chosen to indulge your curiosity and try something new? Do you do something just because you want to experience something you’ve never tried before? Do you remember doing something that you want to try again?
Leave a comment below with your Experimental story. I’d love to hear how it went or how it’s going now. How has it been Sweet for you?
Here’s to Experimenting and listening to what our hearts are telling us so we can Keep It Sweet every day!
(Images are copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2020)
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Hi. I'm Dawn Herring. Here at The Sweet Spot I love writing about how I'm keeping it sweet with music, song writing, cartooning, doodling, watercolor painting, movie watching and book reading. My goal is to share what feels really sweet to me and why. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.