I’ve never considered myself an artist when it comes to painting and drawing. I just don’t have it in me. At least, that is what I told myself since I was about 12 and looked in dismay at yet another drawing of a woman that looked more like an alien. I spent years wishing that I could paint or draw, but never really letting myself really try because I was so afraid of failing.
Because of my perfectionist mindset I couldn’t let myself do something that I knew would fail. One day I decided that it doesn’t matter what my painting looks like, I could just enjoy myself while painting it. I still don’t think my art is very good, but I love making it.
I decided to start with decent supplies because I wanted to give myself the best chance at enjoying what I was doing rather than struggling with my tools.
There are many good brushes that you can buy. I started writing this post several weeks ago. Since then I’ve upgraded my tools. There are many price ranges of brushes. The quality of the brush really does make a difference! I started out with the Windsor and Newton Cotman brushes. They are quite inexpensive and easy to find. I read many art blogs and came to the conclusion that if you have a round size 8 and a round size 12, you can do a whole lot. I would also suggest a small brush (I use a size 3) for detail. I was very happy with them.
If you are to the point where you are considering upgrading your supplies, I can tell you that after hours and hours of research, a common statement by artists is that the Windsor and Newton Series 7 are some of the best paint brushes that you can get. Another commonly loved brush, but quite a bit less expensive is the Black Velvet Silver Brush line.
Nearly every painting I’ve posted has been made with the very cheap Windsor and Newton Cotman line, but I recently decided to upgrade. I now use a Black Velvet Silver size 12 round and a Windsor and Newton Series 7 size 6 round.
I am a strong believer in quality tools. I would rather have two brushes that work very well than a value pack of twenty that fall apart while being used. I think this is just a personal preference- do what you’d like!
The paper doesn’t matter quite as much as long as it is meant for watercolor. If you start with normal printer paper, you will definitely be disappointed in the results. I usually use these blank watercolor greeting cards* so that I can share my compositions.
However, after painting for a couple of years with the same set (it really does last forever!), I wanted to also upgrade my paint. I read quite a lot how quality of paint really affects the painting. I was eager to try it out. It really does make a huge difference! I almost feel like I am learning to paint all over again because the quality paints have a lot of new possibilities. I now use the Windsor and Newton Professional 12 color half pan set. I am very happy with it.
This has been a great activity to do with my kids. They love to paint with me. I cut my larger watercolor papers into fourths for them to work with. They have their own mixing trays, water cups, paint and brushes (they are now getting hand-me-downs from me), so I don’t lose my mind.
I haven’t had any formal instruction. I watched a few videos on YouTube and read a few articles online, like this one, to get the basics of how to use the paint and just got started. My first paintings looked like something from a third grade art class. It was really good for me to put my heart into something that ended up not really working out. It was a micro-lesson in dealing with the feeling of failure and being ok that I can’t do everything.
Anyway, I just kept going at it and slowly found a niche that I enjoyed: mountains. I get weak knees and tears from (real) mountains. I feel like something from deep in my soul yearns for them. Anyway, </anneshirley>** they are also fairly easy to paint.
There is still a lot that I would like to learn. I know that my art isn’t prefect, but it is a therapeutic and I love making it. I hope you try it!
*I used Amazon Affiliate links for most of the products I listed. Please don’t hate me for it. I need more money to buy Edwardian blouses.
** HTML for ending an Anne of Green Gables moment. Props if you got it or even get it now. I learned HTML as a young teenager. I had an Angelfire website filled with photos of dogs, poetry and Pre-Raphaelite art.