More Art Play Makes Better Art Work
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
I spend a lot of time urging you to repeat yourself, to focus on exploration, and to luxuriate in the joy of the process. Today I’d like to illustrate what that looks like for me in the hope of inspiring you to push further in your own process.
I made these overlapping circle explorations last fall during my live retreat, Watercolor Wonder . Notice how I’m not afraid of “wasting” paper – the process is joyful – and leads me in new directions – that’s a good use of paper.
As you can see I was exploring different color combinations, levels of color saturation, and seeing what would happen if I allowed the paint to dry more and less before adding the next circle.
Then on my artist residency a few weeks ago, I wanted to explore an image I had seen of nested bowls – but in abstract watercolor. It’s related to the other circle explorations, but different too.
As you can see, I’ve worked into one or two of them with pen already, which is really fun. I have no idea what they are “for” or where they will end up, but that’s the point – to work openly, luxuriating in the process of open discovery.
And on that note, I wondered what would happen if I explored some warmer colors and grays as well. I was running out of paper – so I did these smaller ones, which turned out to be really fun.
Again, I don’t know what they are “for,” but they can spur on exploring what different elements are like layered together. For example, I’m letting this sit on my desk:
And in another exploration, I had started making teensy circles on a large watercolor pattern.
I couldn’t figure out where it was going, or if it was going. So I split it into four separate pieces. Here’s two of the pieces that have come out of it. I’m feeling happy with them. It’s always an adventure to watch the work develop when I approach it as play. The funny thing is, the more I do art play, the faster the development of my art work. I see this happening for my students as well.
If this way of working with watercolor and mark making lights you up, but you aren’t sure where to start, I’d love to invite you to my upcoming live online retreat: Watercolor Wonder.
Join me for two creative, luxurious afternoons of exploring and dwelling in the flow of watercolor paint, April 27 and 28th. (Live on Zoom!) You’ll get to know your paints and brushes through exploratory exercises and create blooming, bold clouds of color, and gentle washes and marks that will set the stage for your slow drawings and mark making to pop.
This retreat is best for folks with less familiarity with watercolor paint. you can learn more and grab your spot here.
What do you love about art play, especially with watercolor? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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