A few months ago, I decided it was time to learn another skill. This was prompted by the 100 Day Project, which encourages you to do something every day for 100 days. You would think that I would have chosen something I could actually do, given I was about to post these daily creations on Instagram every day for 100 days, but oh no, not me. I chose to learn a new skill that probably requires at least a little artistic talent, and then post my shame for all to see. I chose to try to learn how to paint with watercolors.
I already had all the supplies. A few weeks prior to this, in a state of emotional shopping, I had done what I can only refer to as blackout shopping. I went into Michael’s for one thing. I just wanted to try one little watercolor palette. I somehow came home with a couple bags full of any kind of water based pigment or ink you could find. Sure, I had my intended Jane Davenport palette (or maybe two.) I also had Jane’s mermaid markers, some Tim Holtz distress inks, and numerous other items in my bags. That’s right – bags. As in plural. Did I just randomly walk up and down aisles throwing everything I came across in the cart? I don’t know, but I was now ready for this adventure.
Before we get too far into this story, let me give you the ending. I did not last 100 days. I think I fell off around day 25. Also, I am not good. Just throwing that out there before I burn your retinas with some examples. I am committed to practicing, though, so I know I will get better!
Why would I post terrible art on the internet? Because it is good to have something to measure progress with. Because it is good to show that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to try. Because it is good to laugh at yourself along with the people laughing with you. So, are you ready for this?
This was day one, where I channeled my inner peace, walking along lavender fields. You can kind of tell it’s lavender, right?
Since I had clearly mastered the art of florals, day two I tackled food. Because of course a beginner can totally recreate food. I present…Watermelon Slice.
I particularly like the shading in the rind. It gave it some real depth, no?
Things went to hell in a handbasket on day 3, and my confidence was shook. I just could not make anything that looked remotely like an object, so I attempted to paint the thing I love the most, a taco. The taco was so bad, even a post sharing my shame on the internet can’t handle it. I probably ate tacos to console myself. Day 4 was also terrible.
I tried to get back on track for day 5 with the help of some YouTube videos by a Japanese artist I like to characterize as the Japanese Bob Ross. He demonstrated the ease at which you, too, could paint a beautiful, happy tree. At least, I think that is what he was saying. I don’t speak Japanese.
I felt pretty good with my tree. I mean, it wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly better than my attempts at food. Clearly nature was my jam. If I could paint a tree, why not a garden? I have a brown thumb, so all of my gardens are filled with cacti.
Wait…is that a watermelon in my cactus garden?!
I attempted many more paintings during what was supposed to be 100 days. There was a daffodil where you could see my pencil lines I had sketched, not realizing I wouldn’t be able to erase them later. Several lopsided bouquets and wildflower clumps appeared, typically with either giant or tiny flowers – nothing in between. Inspired by urban sketchers, I attempted a storefront, and there was even a cobblestone road to nowhere. That one inspired me to whip out a little Talking Heads as my watercolor soundtrack. These were all terrible. But every now and then, I’d have a good day. Like the day I tried to paint the branch of a cherry blossom.
Try holding the screen far away, squinting and maybe tilting your head to one side. You see it now, right?
This is what we’ll document as the beginning. I will continue to practice. I will continue to try. And maybe in a month or two, you won’t actually have to squint and pretend you see what I have told you is the subject I was painting. You should go try, too.