60 watercolours in 6 months? What was I thinking??


Watercolours are as scary as sky diving, as exhilarating as a hockey game and as satisfying as nailing a hole in one.  I have never jumped from a plane, rarely watch hockey and usually only rant about how silly golf is.  This is because I paint in watercolour.

I painted a grand total of 8 watercolors last year.  At 365 days in a year I average 45.6 days for each painting.  That is a good pace for the amount of angst that goes into each one… but it is a glacier pace.

Glacierhood would be no problem if I was just painting as a hobby, but I have committed myself to 3 projects this year and will need to churn out approximately 10 pieces of work a month for the next six months.

How many have I done this month? The answer is : 0

I will need to move a little faster if I don’t want to die of a painting overdose come June, the deadline month.  But I find that the thought of an empty piece of watercolour paper is very uninspiring and that I have no motivation to break the quiet white with loud colours.  Something will have to change to ensure this will not be a disaster year.

As I have thought about this I realize that I have no warm-ups for painting.  I usually decide what I am going to pain, get out my materials and tools and then paint.

Compared with singing or dancing this would be insanity.  I would not just start singing my recital piece without hours of scales, arpeggios and breathing exercises.  Nor would I expect to dance very well if I only practiced the finished choreographed piece.  I would probably associate pain and fear with dance then.

I have no watercolour warm-ups.  And for that reason, I suspect watercolours are the hardest art form that I do.  The one I am afraid of the most, and the one that I do the least.

So, this week I will find a few exercises for me to do every day to “warm-up” my watercolour muscle and calm my psyche.  Perhaps by June I will not only have my 60 finished pieces, but painting will be more exhilarating than scary:)

Happy creating.



  1. I was like you, just a few pieces a year. I got a commission to do 30 8×10 watercolors for a Jewish prayer book. It was a marathon. With injuries. Huge piece of advice, watch out for your neck!!! When I was finished I had to have pain blocks from bending over the paper without moving it around. That’s it. Health matters more then anything b/c if you get arthritis @ the age of 38 it messes with your head. I wish you luck, love & joy. Watercolor is magic-you are playing with an element. ~amy

    1. Thank you for your comment and for your advice! That sounds very intense, and you sound like a very determined individual! Perhaps I should also be looking up before and after stretches for painting… Watercolour is an element–a medium for adventurers.:)


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