Watercolor can be intimidating when you’re not sure how to use it, and you’re envisioning creating a muddy mess on wrinkled paper.
This approach to watercolor gives you the freedom to quickly splosh it around on a bunch of different pieces of paper, completely enjoying the process, and then focusing on the finished product in the second part of the project.
I love this approach because it erases the problem many people have with art-making, the “not knowing where to start” problem. You won’t be faced with staring at an empty piece of paper here, wondering what the eff to paint.
Got Artist's Block?
Get your creativity flowing with these inspirational drawing prompts!
Glue – I love Uhu glue sticks (almost as much as I love my husband)
Paint the Paper
Lay out a bunch of pieces of paper all over the place and get ready to enjoy yourself immensely. I used a flat watercolor brush from Blick and limited myself to 2 colors per paper. I made some green/green, green/yellow, and pink/reddish pages.
Writing this is making me think how fun it would be to get all riotous with color and paint pages of crazy rainbow colors, but that’s a project for another time. Maybe tomorrow, eep!
As I painted I tried different things. Since the only thing you’re focusing on here is laying down big swaths of color, you can see what happens when you:
- paint the outside of the paper with one color and the middle with another
- pretend you’re painting a totally abstract landscape with the sky oozing into the ground
- push one color into the other with a little bit more water in one area, and a little more paint in another area
- paint a small area with a second layer of color after the first layer has dried, to give you a little more saturation of color
Let it Dry
As you practice crazy amounts of patience and let all you pages dry, why don’t you click this and follow me on Pinterest?
Cut Shapes and Glue Them Down
Now that we’ve taken a little break, had a snack, and liked my Pinterest page, we can start cutting. You can approach this part in one of two ways: either start cutting shapes freehand, or draw on the back of the paper and cut out along your lines.
I cut out a whole bunch of random petal shapes, because I felt like making some random botanical collages. I had read about an artist on The Jealous Curator and had her artwork stuck in my head for this project. Her name is Eva Magill Oliver if you want to go look and be completely inspired.
Anypoodle, I cut petals and leaves and glued them onto card stock to make my very own Christmas Cactus meandering on up the page. If you are familiar with my projects, I tend to like repetitive, meditative art-making, and I could have glued these shapes onto paper for hours.
Since the page ended, however, I made another little collage of a mystery animal.
This project reminded me a little of Eric Carle illustrations, even though he paints on tissue paper. It’s still fun to get that ready-made, textural background look from the painted papers.
There are so many directions you could go with this technique- abstract shapes, art journal backgrounds, giant, meandering murals on your wall.
Have fun and let me know if you enjoyed the no-stress process. And by all means, peruse my watercolor techniques post.