Watercolor Play Experiments

I've been using watercolors for close to 20 years now. It's crazy when you thinkg about it. The first 5 years or so of using watercolors, I hated them. I used them primarily to add a toned color to a sketchbook, large flat washes of one color, let it dry then draw. Lovely.

Then about 10 years ago I decided I was going to master them. I never did. What I did do is learn how to use them better. I learned how to layer colors, be patient and let one layer dry before floating another over it.

I also learned to love the happy accidents, like the things you see in my current videos.

I learned to give up control and get beutiful results.

I get messages on youtube where people ask me, "How do you do this? Where did you learn this?" The video below is my answer.


The truth is, you have to give up control. You have to be willing to get something ugly to get something that really is beautiful. Sometimes in the midst of the ugly is just one spot that speaks to you and will motivate you to create more. Then you try again and again and again and find more beauty, and beauty in colors you'd never have combined before.

I don't usually use the word play, I prefer experiment, test, and try. The truth is that when I use those words with other people they give me a look like it's scary. If I cay play, suddenly we're out of science class (I forget I was a geek and loved science class.) and back in the area of playful experimentation where we can leave behind our concious thoughts and truly try things out. So get in there and play.