Thanks to the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, Pocket Protector Weekly Watercolor entries will now come with something extra: know-how.
I started watercolor painting more than a year ago. A comic book writer and artist named Jeff Lemire got me interested. He did a watercolor painting of DC Comics character Swamp Thing that was just awesome. I picked up some cheap paints and gave it a try. I didn’t stop, zero instruction under my belt. A pile of the pieces in my home office kept growing. I took pictures of most and shared them – to the collective eye rolls of family, friends and acquaintances, I’m sure – on Facebook and Twitter.
Then came my 30th birthday. My parents purchased a $150 gift certificate to the Rogue Gallery, nestled cozily next to Rogue Community College on South Bartlett Street. Their intent, they said, was for me to use the gift certificate and take a class. You know, digest a bit of training so I can at least advance from “amateur” to “trained amateur.”
I finally jumped at the chance two weeks ago and signed up for a beginner watercolor class. This weekend’s class will be my second one in the three-part series. The above painting is my takeaway creation. You’re viewing the “un-ruined” version. My attempt at another tree in the foreground destroyed the tranquil scene.
Being thrust into a somewhat “academic” setting where there are guidelines instead of just me, a brush and a blank canvas has made me realize the watercolor medium is actually pretty difficult to do the right way. You have to be fast. There’s timing involved. Expect to have a large pile of screwed up, sopping wet canvases next to a thin pile of successes.
That challenge is why I want to keep at it. As nice as it would be, I think I’d get bored with instant gratification when it came to things that mattered. And I haven’t yet thrown up my hands in the year and change I’ve been learning. Paints and waters have continued to soak my brushes and smear once-snowy paper with whatever images my brain concocts that day.
So here’s to making messes, I guess. Have a great weekend.