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So many times I hear from art viewers and students about a painting I created, “How do you do that? I could never do that.”


My first thought is why not? I think the essential key to succeeding at something is the DESIRE to do it. Join the desire with the willingness to work hard and you will succeed, and to the level you are willing to take it.

As a beginner I NEVER thought I could upload a digital image, much less edit it! Never could I post it on a facebook page, or even write and spell check an e mail! Composing a weekly blog was totally out of my scope. But in five years of hard work and brain stretching I learned those things and more.

Most anyone who wants to can learn the technical skills to paint a good watercolor.


To start a watercolor can be child’s play. I simply wet the taped down paper with water. I loaded up my brush with colors I thought were pretty, and dabbed and flung them onto the wet paper. As bright as I could while keeping them transparent. Next I dripped water sprinkles onto the painted paper from a height of two feet and let them mar the pigment. Last I sprinkled some grains of salt onto the wet paint and let it all dry. I had no idea what might appear.

When this image was dry I turned it in all four directions and saw a female dancer in a frilly dress. But I really did not know how to position her body. My first solution was to look at models in magazines. When I couldn’t find the right pose I took my camera to a friend’s home and asked her to pose several ways for me as I took photos. That worked. Back to the studio to draw it out!


I drew for some time before I found a pose that worked for me and my blurry painting, then drew it in pencil and white conte crayon onto the painting.


when the drawing worked I began to paint the image in.


I used opaque white tempera paint to cover areas of bright color I wanted to shape differently.


Dancer, watercolor painting, 11 x 15 inches. Original available.

I detailed and tweaked, blotted off color and repainted it in. I tried hard not to muddy the bright colors I liked, and instill the happy energy of the subject into my painting.

Just as scholastic learning does not leap into one’s head, and athletic skills do not leap into one’s body, creating a painting you like does not just happen. For any skill you must wish to attain it and work hard to learn it. Then you must practice and practice and so on. The work part isn’t much fun- but the art part sure is!

Get some good teaching books, start to keep a sketch book you draw in each day. Challenge yourself to learn a new technique, find an art course or teacher you can learn from. My teaching services are available at a link at the top of this page as an on-line art teacher. Practice, repeat what works, deal with what doesn’t.( tear up the paper, throw it in the trash, yell at it, jump up and down on it-lol)

Whatever you are trying to learn right now, I hope you are having some satisfaction from it and that you feel yourself growing!

Have a fine day.

A big shout out to my talented artist friend Val van der Poel at http://www.mellowood.ca/art/acrylic/index.html. Val’s unique artistic vision of her beautiful part of the world is awesome!