Over the past few years, working hard to grow my talent, I have noticed that January and most of February bring with them a certain level of frustration. I have always attributed this to the fact that I get a bit out of practice with my watercolors in December due to all the celebrations and obligations that come with Christmas.
Now that I am with Tipping Paint Gallery, getting “out of practice” is no longer an option. There’s a new theme every month pushing me to paint an exciting array of subjects.
January found me producing some of my favorite paintings. Come February, the magic pixie dust seemed to have vanished. Painting, painting, painting. Wasting paper, wasting paper, wasting paper. Had my painting ability just disappeared?
After buying the last three sheets of watercolor paper (that I use) at Jerry’s, I put in an order on-line and paid extra for speedy delivery. The paper was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, when we had a thorough sheet of ice on the roads. What was happening? Was this some kind of sign? Rather than panic, I used scraps and backs of failed paintings. I poured over my favorite watercolor books. Still, nothing was flowing the way it should. At last, I heard the voice of my Chinese watercolor teacher, “Put the paper in the bathtub.”
You know as well as I do, that with this bitterly cold February, the heat is almost constantly on. My watercolor paper, made of cotton fibers, has become wood-like because the air is so dry. I have become accustomed to the normal drying time of this particular paper, achieving the mixing-on-paper effects that I love. Although I sometimes wet the front and back of the paper for even softer effects, the water does not penetrate to the core of the paper. Only a good soak in the bathtub will do that.
Thank God this eureka moment came before all that lovely new watercolor paper arrived two days late. Now, with pre-soaking the paper and keeping a wet towel underneath, I am back in business, and back in love with painting. Isn’t it amazing how, facing a brick wall, suggestions from teachers and other artists come trickling in as voices in your head? I love conversing with other artists. Maybe it’s because I am downloading more files to the artist library in my brain, never knowing when this knowledge may become useful in the future.
– Amy Beshgetoorian