Overcoming Defeat in Watercolor Painting

Updated on October 20, 2017
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Penny Lulich is a member of the Bloomington Watercolor Society and the Upland Plein Air Painters.

Winter's Grasp by Penny Lulich
Winter's Grasp by Penny Lulich

I love watercolor paintings. I always have. I'm drawn to the kind of translucent, flowing depths of color you can only get with watercolor. But these kind of paintings don't come cheap, so it was just a matter of time before I naively declared, "I think I can do that!".

I set off for the nearest art store in high hopes of decorating my home with beautiful paintings I made myself, and all for a fraction of the cost of buying them. I purchased a starter kit of beginning watercolor paper, paint, and brushes, and headed home for an enjoyable afternoon of creating art. I sat down at the dining room table, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a glass of water (this, I found was risky as I all too often dipped my pigment filled brushes into the coffee. Yuk!), and without further ado (or any kind of previously watched tutorials) I went at it.

I should mention that I approach most everything with exurberance, and then when I get a dose of reality I back way off. That's exactly what happened when I started this new enterprise, a novice without a clue of the difficulties of painting with watercolors.

It didn't occur to me at all that something my kids enjoyed in elementary school would actually have an element of difficulty to it. I quickly learned my chosen art form was one of the most difficult mediums to achieve success in. That was two and a half years ago, and since then I freely admit that I have had an ongoing love/hate relationship with watercolor painting.

So, how do I overcome the failures, the defeats? Well, I remind myself that I chose watercolor because I love it. I watch tutorials, buy watercolor subscription magazines, and hang out with the most talented group of Watercolorists, who all by the way happen to live in my community, and as a matter of fact I'm pictured in the banner on the home page for the Upland Watercolor Plein Air group of the Bloomington Watercolor Society. I do all of these things, and I remember to tell myself that in the end it's all just paper and water, and a little bit of pigment. If I don't like what I've done, I don't worry about it for too long. I move on and try something else, or do it over again. All Watercolorists do the same. We're a unique group of artist, and we love what we do.


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        Dave Iserman 

        2 months ago

        Penny, Penny, Penny! Had to chuckle with your anguish. I've been at WC for over 30 years and still don't have it down! In fact, I never will, nor will you. That's the fun of it. The only advice I can offer to alleviate some of your woes, is simply to keep at it. Never give up! I once had the opportunity to have lunch with Tony Couch and I asked him, "Tony, I paint regularly every other day or so. How long will it take until I get good?" He answered by saying "I really don't know, but I do know if you painted every day, you'd get there twice as fast!"

        Sage advice. Good luck!

      • pennylu profile imageAUTHOR

        Penny Lulich 

        9 months ago from Indiana

        Thank you Nikk1964!

      • profile image

        Nikk1964 

        9 months ago

        So beautiful.

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