Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sharing the Joys and Knowledge of Expressive Watercolour

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”  ~ Margaret Fuller

Perhaps the biggest joy for me recently has been sharing my watercolour knowledge with someone who thought she would never be able to draw or paint.  For 41 years my friend has been telling me she cannot draw or paint.  For 41 years I have been gently telling her she could if she wanted to.  Last week with a bit more encouragement I convinced her to just relax and have some fun with my watercolours with no pressure. She was finally open and ready to the idea of her being able to draw and paint with a little bit of guidance.

I was really chuffed that she made a fabulous start and most importantly that she really enjoyed the experience.  I was delighted that we ended our first session at the local art shop to buy her a set of her own watercolours, brushes and paper.  Already we have had another full day session studying technique and lots of colour theory.  She has been practising on her own too and is really excited about continuing to play with colour.  All that was missing for her was a little bit of knowledge in how to start this wondrous journey of self-discovery and playing with colour.  

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As her guider, I am very conscious of not wanting to dampen down her natural creative instincts.  Even at such an early stage with artistic development, individuality is present and needs to be nurtured and not suppressed.  For this reason, I am taking the approach to work with her strengths and weakness as they occur.  I allow her to make independent decisions about subject, composition, colour and lots more from the start. In effect she is in the driving seat of how our sessions develop.  I am there just to guide with technique and theory.   

Of course these are one-to-one sessions which can easily be tailored to suit her needs and abilities.  My aim from the start is to develop independence with watercolour as quickly as possible and not to develop a copy of me as a painter.   For this reason I have chosen not to use learning tools like step by steps.  We will be working from life as much as possible so she will develop the confidence to be herself as a creative from very early on.    

For me it is quite an exciting challenge to see how far we get and also to see which direction we are going to go in.  Nothing is mapped out and we are just going with the flow.  How many times have I said that before on this blog?  “Just going with the flow.”  As a painter she is going to be very different to me because her skills and tastes are totally different to mine. I want to encourage that difference and not smother it from existence with my own ideas and abilities with watercolour.  It will be interesting for me to see how she views the world in artistic terms and how she will eventually express those on paper with her own watercolours.

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No doubt I will show my version of some of what we do together in future if I think it is interesting enough.  For now I am going to wish everyone looking in a lovely summer.  I have a few projects planned for myself that are not art dedicated so I will be taking a break from blogging for a little while.  


  1. It's lovely when someone learns something they thought they couldn't master.(I teach English here in Italy and it always gives me pleasure to help someone in difficulty)
    See you after the summer!

    1. Thanks for dropping by Cathy. Enjoy your summer.

  2. This sounds pretty exciting. I can't wait to see your friends art, and your version of what you do together. Your blog inspires me, only wish I had found it sooner, but,now that I have, I will be watching and reading it all, (and learning) Thanks for sharing your knowledge of watercolor, it is appreciated.

    1. I am glad you found it interesting and useful Bonnie. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Wonderful to share your knowledge with others, especially your friend!

  4. I think you have the right idea about how to let her natural curiosity about watercolors lead her and her learning. I'm glad you encouraged her to make the leap and try it.

  5. Dear Laura you will make an excellent instructor. You already know that you want her to discover her own voice. It is wonderful to pass on your knowledge and enjoy someone else's journey. Have a great break and enjoy. Hugs

  6. Thanks for your comments Judy, Joan and Debbie.


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