View Full Version : a slow start, or no hope?

11-23-2004, 10:11 PM
Hi. I'm 22 years old, and have never been artistically inclined. In fact, quite the opposite. I am finishing my bachelors in mathematics, and generally stick with the analytical. For the past year and a half, I have been painting. At first with acrylics, and more recently (past 3 months), watercolours since I enjoy being able to push the paint around after it has dried.

My problem is that, out of some 140 pages I have covered with paint, not a single one of them is a painting. All they ever turn out to be are lines, blotches, little experimental patches, etc. Every attempt at creating something "complete", ends in disastrous failure, no matter how simple. I have mostly concentrated on abstract work, but once again, everything is blotches. I don't mind having ugly work, so long as I enjoy the process, but I am not even enjoying the process so much as I am not watching anything blossom or be created, just watching beautiful tubes of paint and crisp sheets of perfectly empty watercolour paper become ruined by my hand.

Is there any way to flex my artistic side, or should I just be happy with my painting equivalents of a kindergartner's scribbles?

11-23-2004, 10:40 PM
Big Canadian Bear Hugs to you trancefishy!!!

Welcome to the wc forum...

Don't despair... you've come to the right place... there is so much here for you!!!

Firstly, start working your way through the links in This Index (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72121) ... You'll find all kinds of lessons and helpful hints...

Secondly, choose a subject that you really love... draw it out and paint it... then... post it in the Gallery... There a scads of people here to help by giving you suggestions and recommendations for improvement... regardless of your style!

Thirdly, enjoy what your doing! Watercolour should be like therapy... it should take you *somewhere else* while you're creating something... have fun... give yourself permission to have fun!!!

I look forward to *seeing you* around!!!!

11-23-2004, 10:50 PM
You look but you do not see . Look at the fine paintings here and in Musemns , Practise till it comes out of youe ears. It isn't easy for the mind hand and eyes to work together ,it takes a lot , a lifetime ,sometimes.Above all don't despair. Read some artists lives if you think I'm kidding.l
June :wave:

11-24-2004, 05:38 AM
Hi Trancefishy!

Welcome to the Watercolor Forum. You sound kind of down in the dumps and discouraged. I think I can empathize a little because many years ago I bought oil paints, canvas, etc., and thought I'd be able to paint a picture. WRONG! It was a disaster and I was so disheartened, I got rid of the whole kit and kaboodle.

Many years later, I decided to give watercolors a try. I was fortunate to have an excellent teacher which got me over the first steps. However, only lots of practice and reading and doing have moved my art forward to where I am today. I am still learning and know more than ever how important just the physical act of painting is.

A couple of questions for you...

Are you painting abstracts because that is what moves you and you want to express yourself that way, or are you painting abstracts because you don't think you can do a realistic subject yet?

If abstracts are your bag, check out the Abstract Forum, I'm sure you will see a lot of great works there and read how people approach this style. This will help you in doing yours.

If you think you want to try more realistic subjects, check out the links Char provided, and start simply. Concentrate on learning values (lights, mediums, and darks)—seeing them and painting them, and playing with your paints, letting them mix and merge on paper. Part of the fun of watercolors is the unexpected that takes place with this liquid medium.

Please do post some of your efforts. Just say you are a beginner and people will give you gentle advice if you ask for help.


11-24-2004, 08:49 AM
Hi, maybe instead of trying to paint a whole painting, do some doodles. Practice doing small things. Sketch out some things and then try painting them.
Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

11-24-2004, 08:55 AM
I would suggest a beginner's class or a week-end workshop for beginners. It is important to know the basics and how your many tools work.

I am part of a local watercolor group and we meet one afternoon a week. We have 3 new members since september and it is amazing how fast they learn. I find it very stimulating to be part of a group. We're all at different stages of experience and I think it's a positive asset. Each week we have a theme and it helps structure the meetings. About 3 times a year we go on day trips to out-of-town special art exhibits and learn together from what we see there. We have a lot of fun together.

It is amazing what a difference it can make to be with other people with common interests. It is very stimulating.

And of course....you have many friends here! :D

Gisele :)

11-24-2004, 10:10 AM
not my advice, of course... :wink2: but I can tell ya, I've learned a LOT
from this site and it's posters.
Good luck...and NEVER give up! :wave:

11-24-2004, 10:21 AM
Welcome to WC, trancefishy.......
everyone's given good advice, so I'll only add one thing....
find a little book called "The Art of Scientific Investigation" by Beveridge ?(sp??) sorry I can't find my copy because the books are in boxes as I'm moving my office (for months now, btw). Anyway, I first read it in architecture school and it helped a lot to bring the analytical and creative sides together...... they're just two sides of the same coin....good luck and remember that it's the journey that counts, not the end result!


11-24-2004, 10:29 AM
Don't give up! :)

11-24-2004, 10:31 AM

Char's right

and we have all been there

you are in the right place for sure....


11-27-2004, 06:00 PM
i've been busy with holiday, so unable to reply. thanks alot with your encouragement! i have been spending a lot of time on here reading and observing, and also going to all the art galleries in town, and talking with artists to some degree. to the person who wondered why i did abstract, i do it mostly because i really love it. it's got a lot of raw feeling, and you can go so far with it it seems. i have been trying ot get into the realistic kind of thing though a little bit, as i think i may be better able to approach abstract after i can do some realisitic sort of stuff. thanks again everyone :-)

11-27-2004, 06:36 PM
Go read Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the right side of the brain" - I think you may find it very helpful.


11-27-2004, 08:39 PM
Oh My........... You sound just like I did 2 years ago.. :D

Take heart, that link Char gave you is fantastic.. Rods Lessons are the best, but there are so many helpful wips (works in progress) here too to help you..

What subject matter most appeals to you??

I can give you some links to get you started if you tell me..:)


11-28-2004, 05:49 AM
Well you certainly have come to the right place - I have been here for about a year and believe me the help I have recieved (and still get) assisted me greatly in my painting - you should check out the thread where people put the first paintings they ever posted and their most recent ones - you can see how they have improved.

One thing that helped me was that I did a series of 'Masters' paintings where I copied paintings by people like Picasso and Monet and Degas etc - I found it gave me a greater insight into use of colour and composition.

Looking forward to seeing your first post.


11-28-2004, 06:33 AM
If you have been pushing paint around and experimenting then you must be getting usewd to its properties.

All you need now os to paint what you love, pick something that really inspires you and go with it,


12-01-2004, 10:50 AM

As for the analytical thinking, there's no reason why it should interfere with creativity in any way. IMO they enhance each other. You can take it from me, I am a physicist. :)

I think that it would be a great help to you to get a live teacher now. Of course it's important to learn about painting techniques, etc, but it sounds to me as if you need someone who would point out the good things in your paintings, as well as things which you may improve. A good teacher makes for a steep learning curve. It's exactly as when someone shows you where the problem is in a mathematical exercise - it saves you a lot of time and frustration and often the problem can be fixed quickly and easily, once you know what it is.

Good luck.