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.
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.