Water Color – A Method Used To Ruin A Good Drawing

By WR Jones


    Who came up with the idea to use this torturous medium.  The damn runny stuff.  Really only good for drinking and taking a shower with.   Lately I’ve had the desire to do some birds in watercolor.   Why?  Because I saw the work of this man  http://www.barryvandusen.com/    His paintings seem so elegant but simple and direct. 

    So I tried it this weekend.   I haven’t painted in watercolor since finding out how much easier it is to correct in oil painting, and correct, and correct, and correct, until finally you decide to move on.   Not so with watercolor – you dick it up quickly and it can’t be saved by a team.

    As I remembered watercolor was not so messy as oil and you didn’t need to clean up.   I didn’t feel the need to put on old clothes.  Of course then I got red paint on the sleeve of a good shirt.   The wife pointed it out and asked if some woman had put her lips on my arm.   She was suspicious for a moment then came to her senses.  What woman in her right mind would want anything to do with an old man who knits and paints with watercolor?

    I went to the laundry room and with the shirt still on sprayed what I thought was pre wash stain remover; turned out to be a bottle of bleach.   Man, does that stuff ever create a white area in a hurry.   The question this little incident brings to mind:  is there a limit to the number of absolutely stupid, mindless, idiot screwups a man can make in one lifetime?

    I was drybrushing this boy, and we will refer to him as the generic boy because, as usual I can’t remember his name.  Drybrush is not for us with ADD.  Before I can complete a piece I have decided I would like to build a model railroad instead.  Before I can get started on the railroad project I think I should try my hand at gardening; before that gets going it is nap time.  

    But there are those that can do amazing work with watercolor.  And when done right it can be so much more luminous than oil.   Here are a couple of painters in the runny stuff whose work I admire:



    I will show my bird paintings if I’m ever even semi successful at one.  So far I’ve just been ruining drawings.

This entry was posted in Humor, Painting, Watercolor. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Water Color – A Method Used To Ruin A Good Drawing

  1. Davis says:

    Maybe you should switch your medium from water color to bleach? I don’t think anyone has tried that yet.

  2. Angela says:

    It’s therapeutic to have to just deal with those mistakes instead of being able to “correct and correct and correct” – that’s why I switched TO watercolors from oils.

    You just learn to like blooms, drips and weird cauliflour shaped things in your paint.

    Much better way to approach life I think!


  3. knits???? Wow, what do you knit?

  4. Georgia says:

    As a watercolor artist I feel that you mastered the medium with the hardest subject matter – a portrait. Very well done.

  5. Bill, what a cute boy. i’ve done a lot of watercolor but never drybrush . . . i imagine it’s difficult, especially for a child’s face (i don’t quite get how the blending would work). anyway, well done! Holly

  6. wrjones says:

    Davis – I did switch but just for the one shirt. It is a little too expensive a medium for me.

    Angela – you switched from oil to watercolor? Have you been hit in the head?

    Connie – I mostly knit rows with lots of holes. That damn knitting is just as tough as watercolor.

    Georgia – I LOVE your comment. Can you come back again?

    Holly – just squeeze the water out of the brush with your hand then you are applying a small amount of color at a time. It is a long process and if you don’t have patience not the way to paint.

  7. This is wonderful – not only did you paint a beautiful portrait, but you managed a difficult medium. I really love it!

  8. Lori says:

    He looks great to me, he has that look about him that he just did something awful and is smiling to show it wasn’t him. Get you some Yupo paper, you can fix anything on it.

    Knitting is tough, I would rather crochet.

    Thanks for your comment on my painting, I only used a couple of teaspoons of paint, didn’t break the bank.

  9. Barbara Pask says:

    Well you didn’t ruin the drawing of this little guy, he looks great. Water colors will never be for me, have to be able to fix my mistakes again and again. I respect folks that choose to paint in it though.

  10. I agree; watercolors are difficult, especially for portraits. Although I appreciate watercolors done by those who use the medium to advantage, I almost always gravitate toward oils in a gallery or museum. I love the physical properties of the medium.

    I’m impressed with this little portrait, though, Bill. It’s quite decent. I’m also impressed that you knit. Guess that keeps you off the streets at night.

  11. Terri says:

    My hat is off to you. Water color is difficult and frustrating to me unless I am making an abstract! I have this terrible idea that I have to use white – cant leave it white– I have to use the color white and paint it.

  12. Jala Pfaff says:

    Hahaahahhaahahha…..you always make me laugh. I can’t do watercolor either.

  13. wrjones says:

    Connie – Thanks.

    Lori – Thank you. I’ve tried everything to make watercolor easier.

    Barbara – Thank you. I’m with you, except, watercolors are way easier to travel with and way less clean up (not counting ruining shirts).

    Diana – I also am mostly attracted to oil paintings, but watercolor can be appealing. If I could just stay awake I would be running wild on the streets at night.

    Terri – use the white, I do. I can’t tolerate stupid rules that say you should not use black or white or this or that. Make the statement anyway you can. Usually even with cheating it doesn’t work out so well. That is why I drink and knit poorly.

    Jala – you sure used that knife well, to hell with watercolor. Na, you should try it. It has some major advantages. Particularly when traveling and wanting to sketch.

  14. Oh heavens Bill! All your bellyaching about watercolor is making my belly ache. Two things will make it immediately easier:
    1. Use water with the watercolor. You can’t paint with a dry brush. Go out in the rain and get your paper wet first, then float on some color.
    2. Skin color for (white) kids – permanent rose (enough to make the orange go away), cad yellow light, lots of water. Mix and float on that wet paper nice and sloppy.
    Your drawing is so perfect that you don’t have to even worry about the paint!
    So now stop belly aching and get moving.
    And by the way, congratulations on the marriage of RAmona and Paco.

  15. Carol King says:

    I was just knitting today.

    I can also crochet. I cannot do origami.

    Nice portrait, Is the boy whose name you can’t remember related to sunflower girl whose name you can’t remember?

    You can correct almost anything in watercolor. Get some really good heavy paper though. Keep up the good work.

  16. wrjones says:

    Susan – you have to allow a man to whine. Thanks, it was nice to get that hay burning cow off my hands.

    Carol – I sort of knit. Actually the boy is the brother of the girl. I did the girl in pastel and the boy in watercolor. Now I avoid both mediums.

  17. Hi there… Have to tell you that the biggest cause for failure in painting watercolors is trying to do tooooooooo much. Watercolor in my view is the easiest medium because you have a painting partner. Your job is to get it started and let the medium take over. After that happens the page will tell you what to do next… Agree with the comment about correcting almost anything in watercolor. Later…

  18. Bonnie says:

    So take on a portrait!!!1 And of a child! What a great job you did with the hardest medium, I think, of all.
    Like herding cats AND mercury at the same time.

    I imagine the fact that it’s so unforgiving would force the careful placement of brush to paper making every mistake a ” do over”.
    I’m impressed with this portrait and your willingness to stretch the medium.

  19. wrjones says:

    watercolorblog – If I have a painting partner, he/she is not getting the job done. On the other hand, now I know who to blame for all the failures.

    Bonnie – you are a lot kinder in your comments than me. Do you have a picture of your other foot?

  20. donna says:

    Gouache. ;^)

    Watercolor is tricksy. Gouache sometimes can fix. Not always.

    The transparency of watercolor is its blessing, but also it’s curse. It is lovely, but hard to correct once you’ve messed it up.

  21. ricktipton says:

    Just keep at it. It aint as hard as tying your boots past the pot belly.
    And any time you paint it’s messy that’s how you know your on the right track. As long as you focus on the mess where you want it.
    As far as you wanting weed paintings we have a group of Rasta’s down the road I’m sure they have something it may not be cured yet but I can check!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s