I’ve found following online tutorials a great way to learn to paint watercolour. However creating a painting from following a tutorial is far removed from creating a painting on your own.
When you follow a tutorial, a myriad of decisions have been made for you: choosing a good reference photo; analysing the photo; deciding what to take from it, or add to it; deciding style, colours, techniques, paper, brushes…
Just like learning to ride a bike with stabilisers, tutorials teach us a lot, but there’s a whole lot more learning to do if we’re going to create good paintings with our stabilisers off, and we’re going to fall off a whole lot more than when the stabilisers are on.
Up until now I’ve mostly had my stabilisers on, but I have tried a few of my own compositions with definitely less than perfect results…
… but when I painted this rose with only a glance at the tutorial for the petals and a longer look for the stem, I decided it was time to take the stabilisers off again.
No doubt I was going to fall off again – several times – but I was also going to learn more, have more fun and grow into a better watercolourist.
I decided to paint a bee on a daisy. Probably because our daisies were looking so lovely at the time.
First I painted the daisy…
…then the bee, and was pretty pleased with it – sailing along happily with my stabilisers off – but then I added the background – and fell off.
In the background’s defense, it’s a much nicer green than the photo shows – but it’s not great and it made the daisy look too skinny, too angular and as if all the lovely pale shades that I’d (carefully and time consumingly) added to the petals had vanished.
I retreated to another of Maria Raczynska’s tutorials– let’s call this mum holding the back of my seat while I get my nerve back.
Happy with the result, I allowed Mum to let go….
I’m much happier with this, but for me it’s too static and the painting too tight. Time to work on my loose painting, but I’ll tell you about that next time.