Creative Challenge: Watercolor

Happy Friday! I hope that the sun is shining where you are and that you have some awesome weekend plans in the works! Hubby is going on a hike with his Bible study, and I’m shooting a wedding in Seattle with my good friend Ana of Days Photography 🙂 Should be fun!

If you didn’t already know, I’m participating in Elegance and Enchantment’s Creative Challenge for 2015. It’s basically a way for me (or anyone!) to make the time and try doing one creative thing a month. I wanted to join this since it’s so easy to get caught up in the work, work, work and forget to have some creative fun! It’s a totally low-commitment but really fun challenge and I’ve been enjoying it immensely!

watercolors

The first project theme was “knitting, crocheting, sewing, weaving, embroidery or quilting” so I finished up some crochet slippers that I had been meaning to get around to for AGES! I didn’t make a blog post about this one, but I will definitely update you about my progress in the challenge from time to time, like today!

watercolor

The current project in the challenge is all about watercolors! I hadn’t painted for ages, (I think that last time I used watercolors was for my Anthropologie Knock-Off Watercolor Art!) so this was the perfect excuse to break out my paint set and play! I really love the different hues and opacities you can get with watercolor – the possibilities are truly endless 🙂

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I was a little stumped over what I actually wanted to paint, since it’s been so long, so I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration (obviously!). I used this piece and this piece as my jumping off points. If painting intimidates you, it’s always easier to try to recreate a piece you love to get your creative juices flowing! I’m an artist by trade (and by desire), so it was really fun to break out the brushes again.

The first piece I worked on was the mermaid one. I started by sketching out a mermaid and then filling it in with textures using just a regular black pen like so:

creative watercolor art

I’m a doodler by nature, so this was pretty easy for me, but if you aren’t confident in your drawing skills, feel free to trace an image or even just print one out! Of course, remember that you can’t sell pieces that aren’t yours, so these would just be for personal home use. And be sure to use paper that is graded for watercolor! Regular paper won’t work, so be sure to get a thicker grade meant for this kind of painting 🙂

Next I cut my piece out of my sketchbook and used some washi tape to put it on a piece of thick cardboard. This is an important step – if you watercolor while the paper isn’t taped down to anything, as it dries the paper will curl and warp. We don’t want that!

creative watercolor art

I wanted this piece to be monochromatic, so I just picked a nice tealy blue and then used different amounts of water to make splashes of color around the outline of my mermaid. Less water = darker, more opaque color and more water = lighter, more transparent color.

creative watercolor art

It was really fun letting the color swirl and pool and have a mind of it’s own 🙂 Here’s what she looks like finished!

creative watercolor art

The next piece I wanted to work on was the cactus one. I’m just super into cacti and succulents right now (and really, who isn’t) and I thought a little arrangement would be the perfect subject for some creative watercolor art 🙂

I started with a fresh piece of watercolor paper taped to my cardboard. No pen this time as I’m going to freehand the whole thing!

creative watercolor art

Using my reference as a guide and jumping off point, I began to paint little succulents and cacti, switching the positioning and look of the ones in the original and even adding a few of my own creation!

creative watercolor art

It was really cathartic to play with the paint and I didn’t worry too much about perfection. Art is art, after all, and it doesn’t have to be perfect 🙂 I also experimented with mixing different colors and varying my water usage and brush pressure.

creative watercolor art

Oliver likes to keep me company while I paint 🙂 The watercolor set is one that I got from my artist mother-in-law, but even regular kid’s crayola watercolors will do the trick!

After my cacti/succulent art dried I decided to go in and add some more detailing with a black ball-point pen for texture and emphasis.

creative watercolor art

Adding in details that were too tiny to add with a brush just really kicks the whole piece up a notch, in my humble opinion 🙂 I just love mixing media!

And here are my two finished creative watercolor art pieces, side by side!

creative watercolor art

I’m really quite pleased with how they turned out, considering that I haven’t used paint in such a long time! I just popped these two pieces into frames I had lying around the house, but I might try to go out and find special ones that fit them better!

I decided to stick my mermaid painting by my bedside, since it just goes so deliciously with my aqua nightstand! It’s basically my favorite color of all time.

creative watercolor art

creative watercolor art

creative watercolor art

For my bowl garden piece, I tried it both on our newly finished wood bedroom shelves, as well as on our mantel. I can’t decide which I like better! What about you?

creative watercolor art

creative watercolor art

creative watercolor art

creative watercolor art

And that’s my completion of this month’s Creative Challenge project! I really enjoyed how calming this one was. Everything just sort of fades to the background when I’ve got a brush in my hand. I’ll definitely  make more time for watercolors in the future since I just love them so much!

If you want to join along, I really don’t think it’s too late to join the Creative Challenge – we’ve only done 2 projects so far and there’s lots of greatness to come! So if you want to get artsy or just want to try something new, consider messaging Elegance and Enchantment and joining the Facebook group!

Happy creating!

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