Daring Watercolor #10

I am in love!…..with Watercolor! I love this medium. I am the type of person that I don’t like the ho hum drum of the usual. Give me something that is on the edge of excitement, no I don’t like roller coaster rides. Perhaps I am not conveying this correctly. I like the quiet world that I reside in. I love books, I don’t care much for television unless it is a good story that keeps me interested. I love nature, I hike and of course plein air paint as much as I can but I am always looking for depth and meaning.

Watercolor keeps me interested because it is not the same story every time. You never know if it is drama, action or romance. Today it was romance! yep….romance! and plenty of it. The soft lights, the subtleties that will keep you coming back for more.

I will not give you a reference photo for my first painting because it just came to me last night and I had to go out and take several photos with the perfect lighting and then come up with more photos. That creative unction felt like it came from God Himself…..I am not kidding, it was there and wouldn’t let me go and I hopped onto that train.

I now realize that having a “push hard as you can challenge” is exactly what I needed. I often have so much going on and yet nothing going on. Well, actually I have a lot of outdoor work to do right now but I’m talking about on the average day. I often don’t know how to go about with being creative, I think I need something that gives me traction and this challenge has done that for me.

Alright here is my first painting:



A close-up of the painting….colors a bit too dark and strident here.


My first photo is just about spot on but….the pinks are richer in my painting and those blue spots among the leaves are not as bright as they are in my painting. For some reason I am running into the blue not being represented correctly.

My process is that I wetted around the flowers and foliage with french ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, cobalt blue. Then as it wasn’t yet dry, I dabbed into my leaf mixture (lemon yellow, cobalt blue) and while that was barely dry, I dabbed in my flowers and bud with permanent rose. I had more fun using my lemon yellow and dabbing it strategically in the flower centers and watching it push back the other colors. Anything to get a little excitement in my day. I let the paint do its thing…..just show me the way Mrs. Watercolor! That is the way to go with watercolor….watch it dance and play and you are invited in that dance.

I was thinking about going back in with soft pastels and touching it lighting with color but decided not to after what I was seeing.

While I was planning, painting and waiting for paint to dry, I was reading Debi Riley’s posts from the past. I ran across this post that inspired me to try what she suggested.  Debi Riley Thank you Debi! By the way if you haven’t seen her blog and her paintings, you have been missing out. I have learned so much from her and I keep going back and reading through her posts. They are chock full of good information.

I spent 20 minutes on this next painting and yes, I used a timer.


My reference photo for the 20 minute exercise


By the way this reminds me…..make friends with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, a painter’s dream come true. You can get all kinds of beautiful effects, learn to play with it.

I dare you to dance and play with watercolor, stop trying to lead because you will get stepped on!




35 thoughts on “Daring Watercolor #10

  1. I like the quiet world I live in too, I think we are kindred spirits, Margaret. I wonder if you’re an HSP like me (highly sensitive person). I think many artists are. I really am enjoying your paintings, and I love the way you’re making friends with the medium. I tend to agree completely with you re: approach – I was telling my sister tonight that wc is like a bad mistress. You never know what kinda mood she’ll be in, whereas acrylics are a little more reliable. I think your approach to let her lead is key (or the stepping on will happen lol). Isn’t it cool when something drops into your head and won’t let you go??? That’s happened to me too, and I tend to think it’s from God too! After all, He is the Master Creator, why wouldn’t it be? Really very glad that your May challenge is working out so well and giving you the incentive to show up with your paintbrush and palette, let loose and watch the colors dance. Bravo, Margaret. Your florals are inspiring! ❤

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    1. Yes, God was the first creator! Oh I know that I am a HSP….I am very sensitive to noise or activity. I love a quiet house and when outside I will not be plugged in….birds and nature is my music. Thank you Laura for your comments and sensitive assessments 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It took me years (and a trip to a therapist) to find this out! I never even heard of HSPs and the whole series of books about them/us! Noises affect me too, but yet a beautiful piece of music can make me cry (in a good way) – heck, so can a bird song, if I’m caught in the right mood. I guess we have to take the good with the bad. Will you keep on daily painting in June, do you think?

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      2. I think that I will continue on in June…..maybe a little more relaxed but I like it because I like the edginess that it gives me….makes me grow. I think that I might have a different spin on watercolors or? yes, I think that I am talking myself into it….another challenge. I’ll have to give it some thought and figure out what my challenge will be or my theme.

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  2. Margaret …. just marvellous!!!
    love these. the 20 minute timed painting has a flair and bold whoosh to it, i love 🙂 no mucking about! awesome. love what you said about tv… i feel the same. the birds and grasses rustling, are so much nicer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Debi! I have been slowly gleaning info from your blog, a nibble here, a nibble there. I had the most fun today in painting since….Tuesday! I did enjoy that day plein air painting. So….I keep wanting to fiddle with the first watercolor….fearing that it is too mundane with the lack of values. What is your honest opinion?

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      1. the Lovely first image – I’d leave alone simply because its finished!
        but, I’d suggest a wide double white matt for it, to help create and exaggerate a vignette effect.
        second image – I’d leave it. it served its purpose to be bold and free and loose! no holds barred. and From this ‘foundation’ you will spring forth into tomorrow’s paintings.
        Just as you go forward, remind yourself nonstop…. LIGHT!!!! mid, dark. aim for higher key paintings with WAY more % of Light than dark or mid tone. thats it. 🙂 cheers, Debi

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      2. I understand!! a little postcard, or post it, works like a charm. just needed to use it for a few months. til, it sunk in. as a colorist – it took me that long. rolling my eyes.
        But, once it did, its in like concrete. 🙂

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  3. sjqzoom

    I love this soft work – and your encouragement to learn to dance rather than to lead – and I see from your IG account that you are also ready to be led. I am living in 7 and 34 of your pearl

    Burnt Sienna is a lovely rich colour – I used to use so much of it when I lived in Namibia – the desert is full of these earth colours. But Ultramarine – I love ultramarine – it has been too long since I used a good dose of this – thanks for the idea

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would double like this if I could….awww…..what wonderful sentiments and yes, I am being led….period! You’ll see how the two colors were meant for each other, there is a huge myriad of possibilities when they get together to play on the paper. 🙂


  4. I love your enthusiasm, Margaret which comes through in your work. Have you ever tried pouring the paint onto the background around the flower specimen? That’s fun too. Obviously mask out the flower, and wet the background so the paint travels. Messy though. I used to do that out of doors. Lovely effect though

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  5. I love your analogy about dancing with the watercolors. I’m so happy to see that your challenge is having very positive results for you. I’m following along — several steps back — and learning from your experiences. Like you, I love reading Debi’s blog. Green has been giving me fits lately, and she’s posted so much helpful information. Your bold, beautiful colors have brightened my day and inspired me once more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh good! I will be talking about what I learned just today for my next post. I think you will benefit from it. Watercolor can be either a nice ride in the country on a trail savvy horse or it can be a wild Mustang! Today it was a little of both….lol

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  6. I loved reading this post Margaret – across all these miles I feel what you feel, and I’m so pleased for you. Your watercolours are beautiful – actually the close up made me gasp, I was so taken with it. I love how you left white space in the piece too.
    And I enjoyed your wet in wet exploration a la Debi! Burnt sienna and UM blue are one of my favourite combinations too (though now we’re in summer I use cerulean and burnt umber, delicious!)
    How wonderful this project has given you such joy, and it’s a pleasure to read about it. Have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Vicki! I so enjoyed reading your comment and I felt a gasp inside when you mentioned what you think and feel viewing my paintings. I am in heaven! 🙂 I have for years doubting myself in my art, harangued and you name it….and to hear how it comes across is one of the blessings that I have had in a long while. I forgot to mention in my newest post that I feel that I need to buy burn umber! I can imagine that it is yummy combined with cerulean. I will be getting some and exploring it with all my blues. You have a wonderful weekend as well!

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