One morning back in June, after I walked the dog and fixed my coffee, I sat down at my computer to read my email. There was an email from a friend of mine, Debbie, inviting me (along with a bunch of other people) to join her in “an experimental, FUN, no pressure” watercolor class. I thought about it for a while and looked at my calendar. It was scheduled for four Wednesday evenings in July at 7 pm and I was free. I emailed Deb back and said I had absolutely NO experience in watercolors and had probably not picked up a brush since I was a kid in grade school. What did she think? She said she was in the same boat. So, sucker that I am, I signed up.
Well, I learned a few of things about watercolor through those classes. I learned that watercolor is both very fun and very frustrating. I also learned that I’m not a natural with a brush. I think it would take a lot of work and a ton of lessons for me to get anywhere near proficient. Of course, that’s the way life is, isn’t it? Anything worth pursuing takes work. Regardless of that, I did have fun and I did learn a few things and spent four pleasant evenings with a bunch of congenial women.
After I brought my work home and looked at it for a little while, it occurred to me that I might be able to improve the little devils if I messed with them a bit digitally. So out came my trusty Nikon and I snapped them up. Here are some of the befores and afters.
Here's a before.
And here's the after. I just decided a forest would look better than three lone trees so I copied the original , flipped it over and layered it on top.
Here's the before. I think I was trying to make kind of another forest scene here too.
But after I messed with it for a while, I decided it was really an abstract and it looked more like a bunch of women standing out in the rain. So I call it "Rainy Day Women."
Our teacher Renee Malowitz, told us about using resists in watercolor like crayon, rubber cement and frisket. I was a bit overwhelmed with this idea and the best I could come up with was this.
I looked at it for a while and decided it looked to me like a bunch of weird snakes shedding their skins. So I found the quote: "Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again." And this is where it took me.
Renee also showed us how to do a black line drawing and fill it in with watercolor. Here's my attempt at copying the flowers she brought in for us.
I thought the before looked a bit flat, so I added a little texture and framed it like the masterpiece that it isn't.
On our last day, we were supposed to do whatever popped into our heads using the techniques we were taught. For some reason, I had feathers on my mind that day so I took a couple with me to copy. Here's one of a crow feather I found in the yard. I know it's not crow-colored, but I couldn't figure out how to do a black feather.
And here's what I decided to do with it.
And lastly, here's my pathetic attempt at a peacock feather. It's like I completely forgot about the rule of thirds and everything.
But I kind of liked it after I was done messing with its pixels.
I suppose this is cheating. But I don't care. I had fun. I might just do more of these. Who knows?
I might just learn something.