Why choose watercolour? The benefits of watercolour & how to get started
I've been there. I've asked those exact questions, and I'm still experimenting and discovering new ways of using and enjoying watercolour.
Here are my top five reasons for ignoring the 'fear factor' and picking up your brushes to get started with watercolour:
- Watercolour is highly portable. You only require minimal tools/paints to get started with watercolour. Head to the beach or city, anywhere you like, with a simple set of watercolour pans or three primary colour tubes (seriously, three colours is plenty). Bring a portable watercolour brush, a watercolour sketchbook or paper block, and start painting! With this simple, minimal setup, you can be painting en Plein (outdoor) or at your desk for as much time as you like.
- Watercolour is accessible. You don't need to be 'good' at watercolour to enjoy it. Many artists indeed consider watercolour to be the Master's medium. Still, I believe there are many accessible ways to enjoy it and start practising to discover your unique style. Setting yourself the goal of practising some essential watercolour techniques can be a good starting point. It will also deliver plenty of mindful hours of creative fun. Learn the basics such as 'wet on wet', 'wet on dry', 'dry brushing', 'blending', 'lifting paint', and you'll quickly pick up the skills to begin challenging yourself to take on bolder compositions and creative ideas.
- Watercolour is experimental. There are endless options when it comes to watercolour painting. From the most straightforward, prettiest land and seascapes to more detail-oriented pieces with lots of layers, you can take your imagination anywhere you like. Recently, I've had plenty of fun experimenting with a more abstract approach to the paint using only two or three colours, wet on wet and some salt! When you grasp watercolours' 'personality', you quickly gain confidence in being more at ease with letting the paint, paper and water come to life in front of you. You let go of an attached outcome and enjoy the process of discovering where the piece ends up - it's great fun.
- Watercolour celebrates light. One of my favourite things about watercolour painting is its transparency, allowing the white of the paper to do the work and bring forward the light. It's ideal for approaching an emotive sky or sunset or creating an evocative city or snow scene. Together, the paint and the paper capture movement and celebrate light in all its forms.
- Watercolour will challenge you. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting - watercolour will be a satisfying (sometimes infuriating) challenge. As with all creative practice, the juice is in the process. The more you do, the better you will get. You might need to paint eleven pieces before you revel in the magic of one, the one you've been waiting to see for weeks or months. This discovery process will sharpen your fine motor skills – from broad, wet-washed backgrounds to fine, photographic details; practising technique will improve your hand-eye coordination and boost motor skills.
There are so many ways to enjoy watercolour and gain confidence in practising. For me, creativity at large is a highly therapeutic experience. With its quick setup, the gentle ebb and flow of watercolour will allow you to mindfully zone out the stresses of daily life, the dreaded doom-scroll of social media. You can focus on what's in front of you and allow yourself to be in the moment - letting go of everything else.
If you would like to have a go at it but don't know where to start, then please join me at one of my upcoming workshops in Gullane this autumn. I am passionate about sharing what I know about harnessing a creative practice. These sessions are small and informal, with no experience necessary. We are all in the same boat! Learning and growing and enjoying the process.
>> Sign up here <<
If you have any questions about the workshops, please email me at fidracolleciton @ gmail.com