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George66
05-25-2013, 01:25 PM
Hi all,

I need some help/support. I have all my materials and I want to paint, but I just seem to be stuck. I can't seem to get myself to DO IT!

I'm figuring I'm afraid to mess up (although I know I must) and can't get it going. I read, I look at DVDs but I can't put brush to paper. It makes me mad at myself to be so stuck.

If there were local classes, I'd go because that would force me to paint, but there aren't any at this time.

Any advice, please?
George:(

virgil carter
05-25-2013, 01:43 PM
Yes, even for experienced painters a white sheet of watercolor paper can be intimidating. The cure? Dampen the paper and put paint on it! Put on a second color and watch them mix wonderfully on the paper!

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Stop. Smell the roses!

Sling paint,
Virgil

M.L. Schaefer
05-25-2013, 01:46 PM
Hello, George, Welcome!

I started (and still love to do) Miniatures. No paper wastage no paint wastage, and not the same creative investment one has in starting on a full/half/or quarter sheet.

Then check out Learning Zones and all the things you can begin doing to improve and learn. I've always been "goal" driven...set your self some simple goals...i.e., today I will learn to paint wet on wet, dry brush, etc. Decide that today I will to paint a rose, a mountain, a lake, a horse, a dog, a tree, and etc. etc. - whatever suits your fancy. Don't worry, smell the roses (thanks, Virgil!) and let your creativity come out.

This is a wonderful medium, and most of get "stuck" at some point or another...don't give up! Just wet your brush and jump right in, even if it is just mixing color.

:heart: Margarete

Drollaeem
05-25-2013, 01:53 PM
Yes and yes to everything Virgil and Margarete said. I often struggle with anxiety, and ATC/Aceo (2.5" x 3.5") is the perfect size to get me going!

Undergoose
05-25-2013, 02:01 PM
I go through the same thing, George, so I feel your pain.

When I'm sitting there staring at the paper that I don't want to wreck, I find that it's useful to just doodle in my sketchbooks with a small brush. I practice trees, mini-washes, people/figures (ugh..), small-distant-perspective-correct buildings, just random stuff. I've actually stumbled onto some neat stuff that I was later able to incorporate into my 'real' work.

Just the other day I did about 3 pages of birds. Not real birds, mind you...you know...the little 'M's in the sky. After three pages, I finally got the hang of making them 'flying' any direction I want and how to keep them from looking like flying 'M's. :p It's amazing how many finished paintings I've wrecked at the end by inadvertently endorsing McDonald's when all I wanted was a distant seagull or two.

I also experiment with color mixing, oddball brushes and stroke practice. In the end, you're putting paint on the paper and getting the therapeutic advantage without the feeling of commitment and "I sure hope I don't screw up" feeling.

I like to practice layering as well, doing a distant, small tree or something with faded color, then a larger, darker one next to it, then another near those, etc.

If nothing else...practice your signature in watercolor. Screwing up THAT portion of a painting really sticks it in and breaks it off. lol

Painting is your joy, not an obligatory stress machine :)

Here's a random selection from my enormous pile of doodle pages from when I just can't commit to a full composition:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-May-2013/1234321-doodle.jpg

Cyntada
05-25-2013, 02:04 PM
Oh, I know *that* feeling. Most of us have been there, or still *are* there. You're in good company!

Remember that no effort is a "waste" of paper, even just painting blobs of color to see how they spread in a puddle of water. Every time paint hits paper, you learn something. :thumbsup:

Similar to Virgil's suggestion, some artists recommend washing a very thin layer of some pale color all over the paper, let dry, then paint over it. Something about knowing you've already painted on it breaks the intimidation factor. For me, a sketchbook was the ice-breaker that got me painting almost daily. It's a book, no one sees it unless I show them, so I don't feel worried about "messing up." (I do mess up in there, regularly, but there's no embarrassment factor since the book is mine-all-mine.) You might consider hole-punching some of your paper into a little 3-ring binder and keep it like a private art journal. Give yourself permission to do anything in there, and when you paint a page you're proud of, take it out and show it off!

Undergoose
05-25-2013, 02:35 PM
LOL...what a great thread. It's so nice to know all of you go through the same stuff, I thought I was just a freak. Thanks for the post, George!

On the subject of sketchbooks, if you don't have 'practice' paper there's some great deals on watercolor pads available. I usually dig around on the sites when I make an order for free deals and such. These are my two current favorites:

Dick Blick has a freebie deal that I've utilized a lot, it's limited to one per order, though. If you buy the 9x12 Fabriano 140 CP (12 pages I think) studio pad in the value pack, you get a free 8x10 hot press pad, which is great for sketching, too. Right now, when you buy the value pack, you also get a 3-tube sampler from Da Vinci, Phthalo Blue, Pyrrole Red and Benzi Yellow, all 5 ml and GREAT colors. If you're ordering anyways, it's a great way to flesh out the order to get to the 20% off deal, at which point you get both pads and the paint for less than $5.00: http://www.dickblick.com/products/fabriano-studio-watercolor-pads/

Jerry's currently has a deal on 9x12 Strathmore 300 140 CP (you can also get the larger ones), if you buy one pad, you get your choice of size of the Creative Mark Squirrel LE's (I chose the 10). With their current sale, it's less than $3.50 for a pad and a decent squirrel brush that I actually like a lot. They'll send you as many free brushes as you buy pads, as well :) : http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/paper/drawing-and-multimedia-paper-and-boards/strathmore-paper-pads-and-boards/strathmore-paper-pads/strathmore-300-watercolor-pads.htm

I keep a large supply of these pads on hand and like Cyntada says, if you end up doodling something amazing, you can always clip it out and pretend you planned it all along. :lol:

Mayberry
05-25-2013, 02:49 PM
You could join one of the monthly challenges they have in the Watercolor Studio section. Those are nice for kind of giving you and assignment and a bit of a deadline, with a lot of support along the way.

I remember in my first painting class (it was in acrylics, about 30 years ago), I felt kind of reluctant and apprehensive about taking a brushful of paint to the white canvas. My professor came over to my easel and called the class to gather around while he took my largest brand new brush, dipped it in a wad of paint, and started brushing paint around rather haphazardly, while describing how he was just laying on some paint to help start seeing the structure and major planes of the picture. Then he handed the brush to me. Fear was gone. He already "wrecked" the white canvas, so I could do no worse.

If that feeling ever starts creeping up again of hesitation in the face of a blank paper, I picture my old professor (recently passed away) hovering over me, ready to take my brush and start messing with my paper, and I know it's time for me to take my brush and do it myself.

Undergoose
05-25-2013, 02:57 PM
You could join one of the monthly challenges they have in the Watercolor Studio section. Those are nice for kind of giving you and assignment and a bit of a deadline, with a lot of support along the way.

I remember in my first painting class (it was in acrylics, about 30 years ago), I felt kind of reluctant and apprehensive about taking a brushful of paint to the white canvas. My professor came over to my easel and called the class to gather around while he took my largest brand new brush, dipped it in a wad of paint, and started brushing paint around rather haphazardly, while describing how he was just laying on some paint to help start seeing the structure and major planes of the picture. Then he handed the brush to me. Fear was gone. He already "wrecked" the white canvas, so I could do no worse.

If that feeling ever starts creeping up again of hesitation in the face of a blank paper, I picture my old professor (recently passed away) hovering over me, ready to take my brush and start messing with my paper, and I know it's time for me to take my brush and do it myself.

That is a brilliant man! I love people like that, they just sort of smack you in the back of the head and get you moving.

There might be a marketing angle here. We could start selling pre-wrecked pads of paper...random squishings of paint on every page, you just have to fill in the rest of the composition once you figure out what the heck it is! :P

"Well...I guess I'm painting a blue rhinoceros in an upside down garage holding a shovel today..." :rolleyes:

hblenkle
05-25-2013, 04:00 PM
I remember before I started taking art classes, I bought a book. I tried following the examples. I figured like it said it was practices and nobody need see them. So I gave myself permission to play around, have fun with no pressure to produce a masterpiece, and just let myself get some practice. I realized the point was to practice and try. Eventually I should see progress. It is like practicing anything else like playing an instrument.

Cyntada
05-25-2013, 06:15 PM
Karl: How come the garage is holding a shovel? ;)

I recall a thread here that seemed to go like this: Pour random colors, let dry, then paint a subject that fit with the various shapes and color blocks resulting from the pour. Might have been a class, one of the first threads I read here after joining WetCanvas actually. Someone (the teacher?) worked an old jalopy into his pour by both painting and lifting, and the results were wonderful.

Undergoose
05-25-2013, 06:24 PM
Karl: How come the garage is holding a shovel? ;)

Well, silly, how else is it going to dig up the clams? :D

Cyntada
05-25-2013, 07:25 PM
Beautiful. Touche! :thumbsup:

querin
05-25-2013, 08:13 PM
You could draw out circles and paint them in with the colors you have to make a reference, it's a small area and you don't need to stress over it ,you will see how each colors behaves when you paint wet in wet or wet on dry paper or dry brush .Make one circle side darker then the other side this will give it form start one color say yellow let it bone dry, lay another color on top a red then a blue this makes a gray .This may help to get you going.Try different wetness in the paper very wet then less wet this will show you how far the pigments flow, more water less control, less water more control of the pigments.
querin

birdhs
05-26-2013, 01:12 AM
It could be a case of terminal cheapness you are suffering from. It was for me.

My instructor would laugh at my tiny blobs of paint on the palette, make fun of my clean brushes, and be amazed at my third layer of perfectly sanded gesso.

he came over one day, grabbed my "best" big brush and squeezed out a huge glob of green and smeared it over my diblly timid mark-making on my cheapo student grade 16x20 canvas. Then he blew in with yellow, then red.

He suggested that now I had enough paint on a canvas to create something. I was shocked and angry, but had to laugh. He taught me a valuable lesson, and it was freeing.

All of us had to start somewhere, and we love to see early works, messy and sloppy and imperfect. It is how we grow and share.

and don't you wish you had the first painting by Van Gogh?

Really glad you are hear, and this post made me remember a time when I was too cheap to use up all the (really cheap) student grade paint and horrible canvasses.

greggo

pjartwc
05-26-2013, 04:42 AM
Hi George, Don't know where you are in your painting "career", but this not wanting to put brush to paper comes in all the stages of our painting development. You've gotten good advice in this thread and I hope you start using some of it. You are not alone. We all feel this dread to put brush to paper and it usually starts when on a new adventure.
There are many artist who have found a good style and subject and spend their whole artistic life painting the same thing in the same style over and over and never growing. They too afraid to put brush to paper - to try something new and different - they just don't realize it.

George66
05-26-2013, 12:47 PM
Thanks to all.

I should have said I am a beginner, took one local class (8 hours) then attended a workshop. Of course, these experiences were two totally different approaches (and I like both). My problem has nothing to do with cheapness or equipment. It's more mental. I've seen and read so much stuff that I think I've confused myself.

I ask "Do I try to paint like this guy or that guy?"
Whose technique should I use?
Where do I start?

I suppose it's different when you have some experience and then you find your way. I can't find a way to begin!

George:clear:

webLes
05-26-2013, 02:26 PM
dont think about it wet the paer and sling some paint on watch the colours mingle let it dry look at it when dry and see if you can see any shapes in the painting then enhance the shapes and your halfway there then . we cant do it for you you got to do your part , you have been given plenty advice

bigskycountry
05-26-2013, 03:51 PM
Lot's of good advice here. I'll echo it. Sounds like you might be suffering from a case of too much information and watching/reading about too many expert artists painting expertly in too many different ways. To get yourself started, you might try putting all that in the back of your mind to retrieve later for specific paintings and dedicating some time and a portion of your supplies to just play. Try treating it as a series of fun experiments instead of as an artistic endeavor. Start by asking "I wonder what would happen if....?" and then do it to find out. At the same time, you could pick a subject/concept to paint and depending on your drawing skills-- draw it (or trace it from a photo) onto your water color paper and start painting it. The results will tell you what you want to learn how to do, work on improving etc. And, some good advice I heard at a demo I attended was "Don't try to produce a masterpiece -- just have fun."

Mayberry
05-26-2013, 04:17 PM
Another thing my painting professor did, is he didn't show us much of his own work. He never finished his classroom demos. "I don't want you to paint like me. I want you to find your own way of painting." He did have us visit museums and galleries and read art magazines, and required sketches of paintings we encountered that we liked, and we had discussions about how various artists created different effects through different techniques. But we had to find our own way through our own paintings. He encouraged us to try lots of different styles, just to feel firsthand what it is like to paint that way. Because you really don't know what's right for you until you start doing it yourself.

ckb
05-26-2013, 06:04 PM
I experienced the exact same thing. Then I decided to just start with a simple shape, like an apple. Try lightly sketching the shape and doing a wet on wet with the shades of red/yellow. It's a simple shape, but not that intimidating

springbaby
05-27-2013, 07:40 AM
Wow! Lots of advice in this thread. Everyone seems to have found ways to get beyond their stuckness! From what you say, it seems that you are having difficulty deciding what style of painting or techniques to use in your own painting.
You might choose one or the other style - eenie, minie, moe - works great for that and pick something sitting in front of you - apple, brushes, cup - and just paint it in the style you have 'chosen'. Then paint everything in sight in that style until you either get bored or curious about something else...in my experience the road we choose for our journey is not nearly as important as the journey itself!
It is not HOW you paint that is important it is that you PAINT!!!


Good luck,

Gail

dougbug
05-27-2013, 11:12 AM
The best thing I can tell you is "It;s just paper" Thing wn't alway go your way - have fun and pick up your brush and have it!!! I was told years ago your going to do 500 watercolors before you do one you like. Doug

George66
05-28-2013, 03:14 PM
Hello all,

Thanks for all the advice and support! Today I have put paint on paper!:clap:

I'm doing the WC covered bridge beginner demo to get used to my stuff again.

Had to clean and refill my palette and try to remember the basics. PUtting down that first wash....wonderful! It's also a challenge with one hand (I broke two fingers on my left (non dominant hand a month ago).

Boy, it feels good to put something down. I've already figured I'm using too small a paper block (7'" x 10") but that's ok. I have plenty of other paper that's larger.

I may have other questions as i go along but again,

Thanks for your support!
George

Cyntada
05-28-2013, 11:30 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Good to hear, George. There's no such thing as too small a paper block. If it gets you painting, it's the right size.

Hope your hand is better soon. Ask all the questions you want, you can see there's no lack of people here willing to answer them.

reikiart
05-29-2013, 09:58 AM
One of my favorite artists, Jean Haines, says to "Aim for the bin!", and that has really helped me. If your aim is for the bin, and not to create a beautiful painting, it helps you to loosen up, and then those beautiful paintings just seem to slide right in there! Also, realizing that nothing is ever a failure, that every painting is a learning experience, really helps. And every painting that doesn't turn out the way you want, before you file it away or throw it out, try to find at least one thing in it that you like, one thing that you can feel proud of and say, "Hey, I like the way that turned out." If you end all your paintings on that note of success, it will build your confidence.

Terranova
05-29-2013, 04:17 PM
I know exactly what you are writing about, as I have the same problem.
What really helped me was to attend the "Scavenger Hunt" (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1318306)
There is a list of items which have to be sketched (or several of them. You don't have to do all).
That means: you do not have to think billions of hours about a subject to paint and you mostly have the item around in the house.

Doing those sketches often leads to an idea what to paint or to doodling a bit or just experimenting with colors.
You furthermore begin to paint or draw subject, you would not paint without this hunt (e.g. a normal day-by-day subject... and those sketches do really end up in a big experience. I'd never thought I would try to paint my umbrella :D )

Another really helpful push here is the WDE in the all media art events forum: each Friday, several reference photos are given and you can start to paint one or more of them.

It is easier to start if someone gives you a kind of "order" what to do.

Same with tutorials either in the internet or from a book. Although for me it is dangerous to look for that, as I often get lost in the internet wasting time I could spend on practicing to paint ;)

My husband often laughs about me, because I don't paint, as I don't want to waste paper - ridiculous, I know, but now I am getting better at that ;)

Happy painting!

Thanks to all for these useful tips!!

Fevrover
06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
This thread is really interesting and I share your problems. I too have read every book going and watched countless video. I work as an advanced nurse practitioner in emergency medicine, and my consultant gave me some great advice on managing sick patients ( I know stay with me on this). He said there are two types of clinician, a strategic one and logistic one. The difference is one understands what to do but doesn't always have the experience and therefore reluctant to get stuck in and the other has the knowledge and is always willing to get stuck in regardless. In painting I am the strategic one who know a lot about painting but doesn't really apply this and just continue to gain knowledge without experience. However at work im logistic attitude and love to get stuck in use skills and knowledge knowing that I won't always get it right, with mistake comes learning.

So paint paint paint......


Cheers for reading
Rich

George66
06-01-2013, 06:31 PM
"The difference is one understands what to do but doesn't always have the experience and therefore reluctant to get stuck in and the other has the knowledge and is always willing to get stuck in regardless."

Great quote, Rich. I'm going to write it down. I, too, am the strategic one. And your advice is spot on: Paint, paint, paint.

I am trying to do that. Also drawing a lot more as it helps me feel more confident about the painting part.

George

blissofsilver
06-08-2013, 09:33 PM
Don't try to create a master piece. Just have fun ^^

painterbear
06-09-2013, 07:33 AM
Here you go, George. Take your pick of one of these exercises and just START painting, for heavens sake.

BEGINNERS' CORNER

A Covered Bridge for Beginners by Dale Zeigler

Edges—Hard, Soft, and Lost by Celeste McCall

Learn to Paint …: by JJ (laudesan)

…Monochrome Color Schemes
…with Primary Colors
…with Complimentary Colors
…with Two Colors
…Watercolor Washes

Painting a Red Object Using Analogous Colors by Celeste McCall

Painting Palm Trees… by Bob(2)

… in an Impressionistic Style
… in a Tropical Setting
… in a Realistic Style
… by Pushing the Colors

Secondhand Chicken WIP-Along by Aunt P (nacre)

Showing White with Primary Colors (Using a TP Roll) by Aunt P

Watercolour Washes Challenge by JJ (laudesan)

You will find the link to these Learning Demos (and many others) in my signature line. Now just DO IT!

Stop examining your navel and put some paint on a piece of paper. :D

Sylvia