Playing with Colors

My watercolor warm-up each morning is quite enjoyable. It’s become one of my favorite times of the day. I squiggle and scribble on newsprint. I splash water and paint here and there, I make thin lines and thick lines, and I dream about the day when I might really be able to create something beautiful with my watercolors.

After a bit of dabbling to work on specific techniques, I’ll often go browsing through my stack of old practice sheets. I’m running low on watercolor paper, you see. There’s none to be had in the art-supply aisle at Walmart, and while I do have a block of Arches, I’m saving that for the future. I’m still playing, still practicing, still wasting lots of paper. I don’t want to waste the Arches.

I use a lot of newsprint, but I want to work, too, on watercolor paper now and then. I want to get a feel for the surface, how the paint reacts, all those things that make painting on newsprint a much different experience from painting on watercolor paper. So, I scrounge through my old practice paintings, looking for ones where I can turn the paper over and have a relatively clean surface to begin with.

And then, I play with ideas and colors. Mostly I paint trees, and that’s because I’m practicing so much on creating fine, thin lines. I don’t look at actual trees or photos of trees. I just move the brush around — using a very tiny one — and enjoy making lots of tree limbs going every which way.

Morning Warmup - Friday (2)
Pastel Morning – Watercolor Warm-Up

Here’s a recent morning warm-up painting with lots of colors, lots of runs, and lots of splatters. I liked the colors I played with, and I liked the casual way the limbs of the tree melted  into the water.

What I like best about watercolor, I think, is how easily I can play with colors, how I can mix even colors that might not seem to go together and still come up with a pleasing image. I’m even starting to appreciate all the runs and drips and blotches and blobs of color.

I hope you like my “Pastel Morning” painting.



  1. I like the warm up painting…..Most art suppliers sell packs of watercolour papers. They are quite inexpensive and allow you to try all sorts of different surfaces…cold pressed, hot pressed, NOT. Shop around and see what you can find. Also rolls of inexpensive wallpaper lining is excellent for playing. You can get it on Amazon. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I grabbed a pad today in the children’s art section at Wal-Mart. Very inexpensive and perfect for my practices. Unfortunately it was the last pad they had. The art supply aisles are bare. I’ll check out the wallpaper lining, too. I’m glad you like the warm-up painting. I’m starting to get a little better understanding of what I can and can’t do with watercolors, so it’s really becoming fun now. I’m just getting ready to play with “warm-ups” now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Little by little I’m getting more accustomed to watercolors, getting over some of my frustrations, and it’s really helping me improve overall as an artist. Being able to “play” with paints and colors is a very good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

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