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.