Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Friday, 20 June 2008

First watercolour.... first bird

A robin, my favourite bird.
I copied this from a photo using a soft pencil, then used watercolour.

This is my first watercolour.
I used to do paintings in acrylic or oils.... a lifetime ago! I loved acrylics, the way you could move them around and use a knife to paint with.
Oils, I loved the depth of colour and the shine, but not the smell or the linseed oil or the long drying time.

Watercolour, I thought, would need the most discipline: you have to decide ahead of time where your lights and darks will go. You sort of paint backwards. You start with your highlights and add dark. With other paints, if you decide that something is too dark, you can scrape it off, or add more of a light colour to it, build, build, build till you get what you want.
With watercolour, once you've lost the light area, that's it. You're left with three options: try to lift it with sticky tape- this will affect the paper, though; literally cut it out- with a craft knife, then cut out a replacement piece and tape it in place at the back; or third option, start again. LOL.

I can see what I could have done here that would have worked better, but I'm still pleased with it as a first.

First bird, too, and I like it because he actually has an expression! That was fluke.


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful! I've always wanted to be able to paint and draw, but just can't. You've got a real talent!


mrsnesbitt said...

I agree with Chalky! This is great...are you going to do more of these? It will be great for you to match your love of garden birds with your artistic talent. Why not scan this and use it in a card for a friend? I have some blanks which are begging for a new home. I received a duplicate order and have a pile. Just let me know! Dxx

Dragonstar said...

This is your first watercolour? Ooooo! I never got the hang of watercolour - probably too impatient! I'll draw (at least, I used to draw!) but painting is beyond me.
This is beautiful!

Blue said...

He is soooo good!
Hate to say it in June, Christmas card perfect.
I use a loooooooooong while ago draw & paint, no-more; to all credit to you for having the talent to do this.


Shrinky said...

Oh Helena, you have such a talent. This little chap has a lot of personality wrapped up in his expression, he is altogether charming.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully done and no-one would suspect it's your first.
I used pen and ink a great deal and did illustration for fanzines but watercolour always eluded me and I would end with a mess.

Helena said...


Ahhh thankyou, everyone!

My elder sister is a wonderful artist. I have a sketch of hers somewhere of horses running through water- it's perfect. It was drawn in biro(!!!!!) when she was 14!!!! So I'm afraid I always compare myself with her when it comes to arty stuff, and in that comparison I might get a C- or so. SO I never fell I'm very good. Not much. I do sit back sometimes and look at something I've done and go "Wow!" though. But I'm always amazed I did it. HA!

I need to practice. But I can only feel that little artistic "spark" when all the decks are cleared- both inside my head and out.

-If this place is a mess that's it; death to creativity. I seem to be always trying to tidy up and organise stuff but it's like treading water- if I stop my efforts for a day, the disorder and mess piles in. And that piles into my head. Does any of this make any sense to anyone???????

I need a clear space inside and outside of my head first. That doesn't happen often.


mrsnesbitt said...


Find the space, even if it is just to think and plan!
I do that in 1 of 3 places........
1. On the toilet.....nobody wants to come in!
2. On the back of the motorbike, Nobody wants to be there when jon is doing 120 mph
3. Go to bed and dream......nobody can iterupt or wake u up!

Oh and have a drink!


CherryPie said...

It's really beautiful :-) I can't believe it is your first watercolour.

Helena said...


Yes, when I can't sleep that's when I go through the alphabet looking for what to do on the ABC Wednesdays. It's better than counting sheep, as that just gets boring and wakes me up.


Wilma said...

Do you do dogs?

Anita Davies said...

This is a wonderful start to watercolour Helena and a beautiful first bird painting. Well done!

Shellmo said...

Really like this watercolour - beautiful!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

It's really lovely! I hope you do some more.

BumbleVee said...

Wow! what a sweet little guy...and your first? ... way to go! looking forward to more lovely watercolours...

Helena said...

Wilma, I've only drawn one dog,no watercolours yet. I find dogs harder than cats cos of the long snouty bit :^)


THank you for your encouragement. I wonder if I'll ever get as good as the ones on YOUR blog!!! I doubt it! Waah... :^)

Helena said...

Hullo Shellmo! I love that cat picture!

Bumblevee & Lynda,

I hope the creative spark doesn't go out to soon and I can do some more. It comes and goes!

THANKS everyone!!!!

i beati said...

I love it it's so delicate and characteristic around the eys. What have you heard from calamity Jane?

Anonymous said...

This is NOT your first watercolor! - It is? - Wow! You have a light hand and you understand the technique. Beautiful! (clapping hands)

sleepyside said...

I can't believe that is your first watercolor! :-) very impressive. Looking forward to seeing more works. Thank you for passing by my blog.

Michelle said...

I love your blog! My mother took up water colors after a lifetime of oils..She said that it is very different...

Lynn Petroski said...

There is a way to erase watercolors, I think. Have you tried watercolor pencils? You use them like regular colored pencils, then add water directly to the point close to the paper for heavy coloring, or wet the watercolor paper, where you've already drawn, which will soften the effect. I know I can erase watercolor pencil marks with my electric eraser, but it's been a while since I tried to actually paint with the pencils. (I'm a lousy painter, so rarely have the guts to paint.)

As for scheduling artistic endeavors -- not a necessity. Might have stopped out of guilt, because you couldn't make one per week. So you can't do one per week?! Do one when the mood and time hits. AND, if you just don't think you have it in you at the moment -- don't! No biggy. Your creativity comes across with Bob T., Dilly, your videos, photos, and your crafting. It also comes across well with the drawings from Bob.

I take two months to do a good colored drawing (working while watching TV at night only.) Sometimes "the kids" (Teddy, Spaulding and their extended family) ask me to help them draw something -- then I go back to fun mode, and don't worry about it looking perfect. A relief for any perfectionist, and they still have their unusual personalities, so guaranteed something funny will be added.

Right now "The Garden Gals" are coloring a picture of a girl with flowers. (It's not against the law to color pictures in a coloring book. Who's going to know?! ;) )Well, the face is now part rabbit, part doggy, and part teddy bear, since that's what all the Garden Gals are, and they just wanted it to look "more realistic." LOL

Drawing and painting are FUN. It's ok to do it when you feel like that kind of fun! And, it's ok not to do it, when you're not feeling like that kind of fun. It's not like the artist in you is being stiffled!

My ultimate goal with the drawing and blog is to make a series of Childrens' Book.

Your sense of humor and artistic abilities would make me slither and hide, giving up on my plan, except, well, I'm hoping there's room enough for you and me to introduce the world to some new stuffed animals. It's been a while, since the real Winnie the Pooh, and Paddington. I don't know, if I can do it (making the illustrations myself, too), but I KNOW you have the ability. I'd love too see your "kids" in childrens' books soon. I'd buy them, and, remember, I color coloring books, so, of course, I still enjoy reading kids books. I never read the real Winnie until recently. Never heard of Paddington, until a couple of years ago. It's time to break out, and let arctophiles that new Trddy Bears are still worth reading about -- online and in books!

Instead of leaving my usual blog address, My e-mail address is atwhatcost1#verizon.net, in case, you ever want to write to a kindred spirit -- although you out kindred me in everything. LOL

Mommy to Spaulding T. and Teddy T. Bear

Helena said...

Lynn, I have only just come across your lovely comment which nearly moved me to tears. Thank you so much. I won't give up if you don't ;^)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

OH, nice, sweet and delicate

Caryn Strauss-Smith said...

You've made a beautiful bird! Impressive for a first water color try--we'd never have known had you not said so!!!

Kat Farmer/van Hookens said...

...just ambled through your gallery, your paintings and drawing are fab, if this is your first watercolour, I'm well impressed. Chow fer now :-)