I have been asked an interesting question by one of our students regarding my original approach to the watercolour medium I use. As many of you know I had no formal art training therefore really had no idea where to start.
I had already experimented with oils, acrylic and normal coloured pencils but did not like the effects I wound up with. This really only left watercolour or pastels. I felt that ‘soft’ pastel would be too messy so l bought a box of watercolour paints plus a couple of brushes, some watercolour paper and just got stuck in; this really was a ‘make it up as you go along’ job.
My first attempts were very poor but as I felt that I had no ambition to be an artist, I just enjoyed experimenting with different approaches. Having had no art training helped me here as I could go anywhere I wanted with no guidelines to hinder me.
I soon had a variety of techniques under my belt, which I was aware were not in the ‘watercolour manual’ but as I was doing this for myself it really did not bother me at all. The main new technique was to use raw colour from the tube of watercolour paint to enhance my pictures, mostly white and lemon yellow with the occasional dap of light red and orange etc. I did know that this was ‘against the rules’ but as it seemed to work I did not worry about it.
To my surprise he thought I should consider exhibiting them as he had seen far worse painting in local art exhibitions. Although I thanked him for his encouragement I did not think this is something I wanted to do but it did spur me on to do more. Then people started wanting them (mainly family and friends), they had them framed and displayed them on their walls: this was the beginning of my art career.
Patrick also asked how I worked out what base colours to use and the answer is that I have no idea. As you can see from the words above it all just happened. What people who view my work don’t see is all the disasters that befell me in those early days but it is because of them that I learn’t what not to do and was determined enough to try again until I was happy with the results, surely the most valuable lesson for us all to learn.