This little watercolor situation I've gotten myself into

The pile of my first ever abstract watercolor paintings
The pile of my first ever abstract watercolor paintings

I can't stop playing with my new watercolors.

It was so innocent in the beginning. Having fallen more and more in love with mixed media collage, I started tearing paper, writing on bits of them, and began gluing bits of them onto a canvas. But what was missing were these colors and textures in my mind. How could I make paper do that? Well, clearly I would just have to make my own.

After buying a few supplies, I didn't do anything with them. It just seemed so daunting. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention I never took painting or drawing classes. (Yet.) And even though I've played with children and their watercolors over the years, until a few days ago, I've never filled an entire piece of watercolor paper with paint before.

This abstract watercolor painting was my 5th ever.
This abstract watercolor painting was my 5th ever.

The whole point, of course, is to have textures and colors and combinations of each that can be torn up and reassembled in my collages. They've all been abstract, except for one that had a bit of a landscape feel. But something is changing when I paint. I've started wondering what will happen if I dry my brush and "pull in" paint over here. And what might happen, I wonder, if I add this completely "wrong" color right there in the middle of that lovely corner of subtle peacefulness. The questions come and I explore them, following instincts that end in muddy messes as well as delightful surprises. Although I'm tempted to watch some videos, read some books, even go watch some of my painter friends use watercolors, I'm not ready for that yet. For whatever reason, I'm finding the most value from completely unguided discovery. I'll probably waste a lot of time this way, when some guidance could serve me better. Somehow that matters less, just now, than figuring this phase out on my own.

This morning, instead of starting on the web project I'm about to work on now, I walked by my the little home studio setup that's sprung up, and noticed the brushes. "Maybe just a few minutes," I thought. This could turn into a problem. I took longer with this one than any of the others. And I was surprised to discover that this time I was trying to actually paint a pretty abstract, forgetting my usual intention of tearing anything. I'll still probably tear it. I'm referring to the multi-colored one on the top of the pile I photographed. Along the way, I considered stopping 3 different times. I now wish I'd photographed the process. It's remarkable how a piece can change so drastically from phase to phase.

One of my artist friends learned I'm playing with watercolors and told me of her love for acrylics. "They're more forgiving," I believe is what she said of them. And more versatile. Superior in every way, they might be, and I have no doubt that my interest could very well take me in that direction one day. But I have to see where this goes, first. Apparently my little watercolor paints aren't done with me yet...