Did you make a resolution to make more time for art or creative projects this year? I haven’t figured out how to “make more time,” but I have discovered some techniques that have helped me make more art. I’ll be sharing them in my watercolor workshop coming up on February 15.
Last summer I started having some health problems that caused me to have to slow down for several months. I thought a bright side of this might be more time to paint, but I was disappointed to realize that I didn’t have the energy or even the mental focus to work on my acrylic paintings. Those painting usually take a few hours standing at an easel which was more than I could handle.
I had the desire to paint and even the time, but the problem was sustaining the energy. The solution came in a small box of tiny watercolor pads I had purchased at Hyatt’s Art Supply in Buffalo, NY while visiting college friends. Using reference photos that I’ve taken of flower arrangements that I want to paint, I could pull up a photo on my phone, draw it with a Micron 01 pen, and take a break. Later in the day, I’d take out my watercolor travel kit and a water brush and add the color to my drawing. Sometimes after the paint was dry, I would go back in with a white gel pen to add highlights.
Working at this small scale and breaking it down into steps that work with my available time and energy has kept me painting. I’ve made more than 2 dozen of these watercolors and sold about half of them by posting photos on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes I start the drawing in the car while the kids are at sports practices, and then paint in the evening before I go to bed. I’ve set up a mini clothesline to hang them and they really brighten up that corner of the house. Some of these arrangements might eventually become acrylic paintings too!