Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let's play

My watercolor sketch today is from a view at Botany Bay, at Edisto Island, South Carolina. In addition to my hand made sketch journal I also have been keeping a small sketch pad going for watercolor practice. Sometimes I copy exercises from watercolor instruction books, and sometimes I try out techniques and methods with my own reference images. My hand made sketch books are generally where I record information, whether visual or written. These watercolor sketch pads are where I play.

The first line for the entry "play" at Wikipedia describes the activity of play as "a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities that are normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment." But for me, this play isn't easy. It's all about practice with this watercolor media that in my mind, continues to mystify and elude my understanding. As soon as I hit upon a method that works okay for me I am wanting to try another way to approach watercolor painting. I think it's because of my perceived difficulty with this media that I keep at it, as a form of play. It's all about the process rather than the product. If it were easy for me to accomplish what I want with watercolor, I probably would have moved on to something else by now. And as for my investment of time and materials, well, all of my watercolor supplies have, as any parent knows, tremendous "play value".

Compared to other challenges, 
the ultimate shortcoming of technical problems is not that they're hard, 
but that they're easy. 

12 comments:

Alex said...

Hahaha.. that's what I keep telling people, I am really just playing with my pencils and sketchpads... nothing more nothing less. But of course Ann, when you play, you have a signature going on, you never stray too far away from your favorite colors and elements, that's the beauty of the game. =) And what a beautiful piece this is, with a different media, but unmistakenly Ann!

padmaja said...

Nice washes Ann! Yes, maintaining a sketch book is a very useful practice, I do it too. And practice makes it perfect..true that only when you feel insufficient about something you feel like learning, you play with it more and more. I am doing just that with my water colors, the result is still evasive!

AutumnLeaves said...

Ann, I am always nonplussed when you talk of the difficulty of watercolor as a medium. Your watercolors are some of my favorites and I so wish I could do what you do with a brush. Still, I find your words interesting this morning as I often think about how art is such a passion for most artists. It is rather a passion for me as well, but one I find fraught with angst and self-doubt, and recriminations for how bad at it I am. LOL So why do I keep doing it then? Hmmm... Anyway, I think this is yet another beautiful watercolor and I find myself wanting to splash through that creek!

Teresa said...

It's a lovely, colorful sketch. I'm working hard at playing with watercolor too!

Sandra said...

I want to be able to play as well as you.

Lynn said...

Ann, that's a lovely painting. I love watercolor, and I've found that there is an element of trust in the process that is necessary. Some of my most successful watercolors occur when I let go of the need to control the process and just let the paint and the water "find their bliss" so to speak. It's like magic when it happens, but you can't make it happen. Relax, and enjoy! Your natural talent will take over.

Prabha N. said...

I like the play of watercolor wash where only one stroke depicts a far away vistas. Its play as it looks effortless. But we artists struggle all the time given the limitless options. Lovely painting.

raena said...

I love your idea of play; you do it well! I think watercolor is deceptive, in that it looks so simple, until you try it!

Janene said...

I too find watercolors difficult, as many others do, which is ironic because it is often the most spontaneous looking medium when you just see the finished product. I think you have done a lovely job on this painting.

Shalini said...

Hmm.. don't you just love it when the resulting colors just flow up on your page? I've always felt a need for improving my watercolors.. but I still love the medium so so much.. and I always end up loving it when I finish a WC work! :)

Love your painting!!

Vicki Holdwick said...

I love the colors of this one and your water looks so real! You have a wonderful sketch pad and I am so glad you share your "play".

xoxo

Krista Meister said...

Love your definition of play. I think that's why I love watercolor so much - it's a definite challenge,that's for sure. I note that no matter your medium, you tend to stick to the same palette. It's got the Ann Nemcosky stamp all over it. Lovely sketch.

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