Art Without My Pen: #30x30DirectWatercolor

This is #30x30DirectWatercolor month and while I don’t participate in “events”, when Marc was visiting I told him I’d do it this year. I didn’t really know what I was signing up for when I said that. Yes, I’ve read his Direct Watercolor book (at least twice) and so I understand the concept, but I didn’t have a clue how it would make me feel to actually do it.

And how did it make me feel? Well, there are several feelings. First is naked. Without my pen I’m lost. Putting it down and picking up a brush causes me to lose my ability to put proportion and perspective on the page. Don’t know if it’s a shift in my concentration or what but things go south when I pick up a brush.

The second feeling is ineptitude. My ability to handle a brush is sorely lacking and it shows in everything I’m trying to do during 30×30. Everything goes down wonky, to use a Liz Steel word. Also, water control is tough for me, also due to a lack of experience.

And the third feeling I have is that it’s just no fun. I’ve heard lots of artists talk about doing the sketch quickly so they can get to the fun part. Well, for me, ALL the fun comes in the drawing. Painting is an afterthought, necessary evil, or something along those lines.

It’s obvious that the ineptitude feeling is a result of me placing all my emphasis on drawing and not painting. If Marc reads this he’ll giggle because fixing that problem is what #30x30DirectWatercolor is all about. I need to spend more time with a brush, following the same “put in the work” that has moved me from painting wonky cubes to being able to draw most things I see. Sigh…is this how a kid feels when he’s told to practice his times tables?

Anyway, I’ve actually done seven of these little paintings, one for each day so far. Four of them are too much of a mess to show you. Marc said in a recent post that 2 out of 10 is pretty good. I suppose he’s right. Here are three of my seven. I hope I get better.

In case you can’t recognize them, Left: onions, Center: Iles aux Grues landscape, and Right: Heron

7 thoughts on “Art Without My Pen: #30x30DirectWatercolor

  1. A-ha — so you got sucked in, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I thought I had successfully talked myself out of participating, but then at the last minute, I found myself in. And believe me, I feel just as inept and lost as you do! On the other hand, I am having some fun just because I’m interested in color (always have been), so there’s that. But as for applying that color with the dang brush — HA! Glad to have your company as we stumble along, though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yeah, when Marc was here we were talking about my need to be better with a brush and in a weak moment I said that I’d do the 30×30 “next month.” I approach art in a very serendipitous way and the very thought that I’m supposed to do something in a certain way and on a certain schedule takes most of the fun away.

      But, I think this will be good for me…like push ups and barbell curls.

  2. Wow, if I could paint or draw like that I’d be amazed. So, be encouraged at your progress and good for you for sticking with a challenge like this so far. Very often these days I do wonder why, if it isn’t any fun, do we torture ourselves? Life is too short when you’re my age. LOL. But there are days when I love a good challenge and remember how much I enjoy learning new things. Maybe think of that lovely brush as a drawing tool you are trying to master? Sometimes it really helps to change our mental outlook. Liz said in her live stream yesterday, “Don’t think of it as math, you’ll set up a mental block about it.” (Or something like this. ) So, don’t think of this as painting, if that’s not as fun for you, think of it as drawing with a brush! Good luck with it, anyway.

  3. My frustration isn’t a bad frustration; it’s all about learning a different point of view and some technical stuff. But heck, if it was easy I wouldn’t be interested. You know the old adage, “We don’t do things because they are easy. We do them because we thought it would be easy.” (grin).

  4. I totally identify with every word you say โ€” yet the month of work I did during Marcโ€™s original challenge remain some of th3 best stuff Iโ€™ve ever done (much as I love my pens).
    I think these paintings of yours are fabulous!

    • Then you did much better than I did at #30x30watercolor. I spend both of my neurons concentrated on figuring out stuff like water control and I just don’t have any left over to think about proportion, perspective and relationships. I keep trying and maybe that’s a mistake. I think I should be starting with a pencil structure that solves most of those things before I start slopping too much water on paper.

      Like everything Marc has ever suggested, I struggle, get frustrated and I learn stuff and improve. It’s hard on an old man though (grin).

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