Watercolour is such a tricky medium and unless you keep your hand in the pot with a good deal of regularity, it is easy to get stale. Keeping the right consistency and ration of paint to water is always an art in itself. This applies to whether you are a pure wash, wet on wet painter; a wet on dry or even dry on dry artist. All of it, requires such dedication to the art form. Renewing fluidity across the page is through trial and error, and hundreds of hours of just placing the brush on the page, which at times can be so daunting if you are a perfectionist and hate making mistakes. A blob can look like a disaster and put you off the watercolour paper for ages. However, trying to just bite the bullet and forget about creating a picture is often the best thing you can do. I like to tackle days like these as just a learning task, where I am trying to overcome problems on the paper or with the tools and paints I am using. I literally write - 'test' or 'task' at the top of the page with a clarifying phrase that tells me what I am trying to achieve with my painting for the day. i.e. 'master proportions' or 'control light'.
In this manner, I have set myself an achievable goal, that means if I make a mistake, it's okay and that it doesn't matter and then I don't get so upset if it all goes wrong. I also find it easier to zone into the painting because it has become more of a task of mastering problems than rendering a wonderful masterpiece. Then, if all goes well and I have learnt to control what I set out to do, I end up with a bonus - maybe a good-looking painting. I take notes and record how I achieved the results I have so that I can practice it all over again and improve on what I have done. Sometimes, I don't get back to the drawing board for a week or so and I have forgotten everything I have learnt, the weekend before. I do my best to be at the drawing board with a great deal of regularity, but realistically speaking, this is not always possible.
Anyhow, this week's trials and errors have been with the creation of twin paintings. Neither are yet finished, as you can see both have blank and line work still on the paper. Each has the same characters, but I wanted to bring them nearer the fence line as if they have stopped for a quick conversation with the little red robin who has been following them through the snow fields. My task was to use the paper as the snow and to minimise the use of both watercolour and ink for the setting. A hard task. If I put too much on the paper, it's going to look like your standard grasslands and if I use too little, the paintings are going to look unfinished. Hence, the reason I have paused work on both because I am scared I am going to over do them - yes, I know they are learning curves and I am trying not to let my perfectionist nature kick in. This stuff is so much easier said than done - trust me.
LILIWIOFE is not a story, a tale or a novel. It is a diary. Some of you will ask, "but why a diary? What possible use could a diary have in anyone's life?" This diary is far more than just a method for attacking one's goals head on and recording the tasks one needs to do, in order to achieve them. It represents the act of taking action, in a physical sense. When an individual writes something down by hand, there is a commitment to oneself and the likelihood of following through with a dream, to make it reality, is far more likely. The brain switches on because the senses have been initiated.
However, for me this diary represents time - something we all have, but in limited supply. It is a full year, that we can choose to engage with our dreams or flitter them away on something less meaningful. And sometimes, it is not just a year. It could be as much as six years, just gone in an instant and you don't know where those hours, days, minutes have flown. Time has a funny way of healing one's heart. You don't plan to lose time or put your life on hold - it just sort of happens without you realising it and before you know it, you have not moved in the direction you set out to or something else has taken its place.
Since my father's passing, six years ago - life has just up and flown away and with it a great deal of my confidence. He was the person to whom I discussed my ideas, my plans and creations. We were very similar, in many ways. This diary represents a promise - not to waste a minute, an hour or a breath. It is a commitment that I can physically see on my shelf, see what I have achieved and how long it has taken me to create those dreams I had planned, prior to him being consumed by cancer.
Dad was a man who was energetic, creative, passionate and had dreams like the rest of us. We don't know what Mother Nature has in store for us, where we will be, who it will affect, how we will react or how we will claw our way back when the dust settles.
All I can tell you, is that we should not let 'time' steal our plans for achievement, joy, love or life. So many times we hear, "oh I'm just killing time; I don't have the time; I lost time; I can't give you my time." The list goes on. I'm sure, you could think of your own phrases that you use on a daily basis, as to why 'time' is stealing what you set out to do. Yet, my point is simple - we don't have time. It is gone as quickly as you can say the word, 'time'.
It doesn't matter if some of you don't get what I am saying - that's okay. In 'time', the penny will eventually drop. But for me, I am on a quest to do as I say and complete what I started six years ago...and on my way, I hope to help a million others to leave their comfort zone, before 'time' up and flies away. Living a life without fear and taking a chance on getting it right, takes a lot of guts. You have to shelve the voice inside your head that says, 'what if it doesn't work out; what will they say if I fail...' There are so many what if's. But what if, you get it right? What an honour that would be to yourself? What an achievement it would be to be proud of your growth and the person you have become. What an honour it would be to share those milestones, with others who have struggled similarly and overcome the hurdles.
This is my plan. You are my witness - help keep me accountable - failure is not an option.
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