Hawthorn Berries in Watercolour
Exciting first wash
Starting my day with an exciting mix of colour, water and technique
My three morning washes for hawthorn berries
There is nothing better than waking with a feeling of happiness and an eagerness to race for your brushes to paint. Today I woke extremely early with a very strong image in my mind. I have been walking my dog, Bailey, every day to the very top of a hill where trees are laden with hawthorn berries. In sunlight they make the most incredible sight. Although the berries are really almost burgundy in colour, when the sun hits them it is possible to see so many gorgeous colours in each tiny berry ranging from gold to bright red. I couldn't wait to paint these berries that I saw in real life, and those from my imagination. So first thing this morning I raced to my studio and created three different washes to depict the image I am trying to portray in my finished paintings.
Why three washes of the same thing?
To stretch my artistic soul. I want to be the best I can be as an artist and I know that only by practise will I reach the heights of skills I wish to attain. I never settle for just one result. I want three with each new wash getting better and better. We learn so much from attending art workshops and from reading books but the very best mentor we have is ourselves. We can be tough or easy with our mental learning state. I push myself very hard sometimes especially when I feel I need that extra "talking to". Right now I know I can paint hawthorn berries. But I don't want to stop at how I know I can paint them. I want to explore new possibilities pushing my own boundaries in technique.
So above are the three warm up washes I created this morning when dawn struck. The peace of the day as it is beginning was very much with me as I was capturing the same silence as when I stood at the top of the hill on my walk. Painting is just like climbing a mountain. You can climb little hills or be brave and climb higher. Right now I have been to the top of one hill, I have another in my sights. In both art skill and in the physical energetic exercise I get from my daily routine.
Below are the three washes I created just now.
Soft in colour because this was the first wash I painted. I hadn't woken my inner artist yet so I was quietly getting the idea with colour and form. Sometimes the first painting of the day is my best and I quite like this one.
In real life, I had noticed the berries really seem to hang below the branches . They ones I saw were in clusters of red, hanging in an almost neat row. I now placed my focus on having a soft background with really strong berries on top of it , that stand out more than in my first wash where the berries are part of the branches and leaves. Almost hidden in places.
For my third wash I looked at wash 1 and 2 and decided what I loved most about each. Then I combined the two ideas. I like this wash. I have softness in the background with hidden berries and bold strong colour in the foreground where my berries will be far more important. If I painted a fourth wash it should be better than all three of these, already created..
From painting the same thing three times I can improve my work each time I pick up my brushes. I can also take a huge piece of paper now and work on it confidently, knowing exactly what I am aiming to achieve. Each of these washes will make a wonderful painting in its' own right. I have started my day so well that it can only get better. I hope yours does too!
Artists Tips :
1) Paint a wash three times each day and improve each one so they get better and better over time
2) Fall in love with your subject so much that you can't stop thinking about it, even when you sleep
3) Learn from yourself!
4) Be a "tough" mentor. Don't be too easy on yourself as a teacher but also pat yourself on the back at times too. That's very important as we see our own faults far more than our good points.
5) Do go out, I can't stress this enough but going out and really seeing things makes you so much better as an artist.
6) Find something new to paint, something you maybe hadn't thought of painting before.
7) Please be you. Don't always copy others. Paint something of your own in your own way. That way you truly will grow as an individual rather than a " follower". Be inspired by other artists but don't try to be them. For all you know your inner artist could be far better than anyone you are trying to emulate!
And smile, today is an exciting new day!