Treasuring the Tint
The brush wasn’t moving with my hand, the colours didn’t blend well, there was too much water and the paper was wrecked.
Recently I have taken an obsession with water colouring. Well, it was a week ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I was watching paint dry. Literally. I was watching Youtube videos of artists water colouring and it helped me calm down. So obviously I wanted to try it. My previous adventures with painting and sketching have taught me, it’s not really for me.
So I decided to do a bit of research before jumping headfirst into water colouring and come back stained all blue because I discovered I can’t paint to save my life. I checked out a couple of videos, downloaded a bunch of books on watercolour for novices and I found out some relevant points about it. I also ended up realising life is a lot like water colouring.
One of the most important steps is collecting the materials you require, like watercolour, water, brush sets and paper. These come in different qualities. After some reading I felt the brush and paint were relative, it was the paper that counted. The canvas is the most remarkable part of water colouring. The paper needs to be thick enough to hold the water. A lot like life. It doesn’t matter what life throws at you, you need to be able to withstand it. Like paper or canvas, we are the ones in control. The quality of our life may be much different from that of others, much like the brush and paint. But we need to keep in mind that like paper it is we that matter. Not the circumstances.
Because I did not know much about water colouring, I started reading about it and trying it out. Sometimes in our lives, we may come across problems we don’t know, or decisions we have to make, but don’t have a clue about. Instead of speculating, “Whoops, I don’t know that!”, we need to start learning. We need to enlighten ourselves about the matters that are happening around us. We have to learn new ideas and unlearn outdated concepts. We need to be more mindful of the privileges, benefits and morals we should uphold.
On the first day, I started to colour I was excited, the books that I had downloaded was filled with beautiful, calming, blossoms painted in harmonious colours which looked effortlessly drawn. I eagerly attempted to draw one of the seemingly easy flowers, only to discover, I couldn’t. The brush wasn’t moving with my hand, the colours didn’t blend well, there was too much water and the paper was wrecked. I almost gave up. I realised I had bitten off more than I could chew. I had tried to paint a rose, without mastering how to rightly hold the brush. There would be times in our own lives when we try to do more than we can and just think we are failures for not accomplishing the goals we had set ourselves.
When I realised my blunder, I started going by the book, from the beginning. It would take me 30 days to start painting anything typical, but I persisted. On the first day, all I managed to draw were streaks, scratches and lines. After that, it was curves, patterns, shapes and each day I started feeling more and more confident. It was an enjoyable sentiment. And I had gained a new lesson, of course, live one day at a time. Take your own time to perceive the process, it’s not a competition. When attempting new things in life, it is always better to take it slow.
I don’t know when I fell in love with the process of water colouring. Maybe it was the smell of paint that helped me, maybe it was the sight of the finished picture that got to me. But I think I was in awe of the brush strokes, the way they glided across the paper to shape leaves, trees, mountains, flowers and cactus. It relaxed me. I didn’t realise it at the moment but all my anxieties and worries would ebb away as I sat painting for hours on end. I didn’t comprehend how much I would come to love the painting time, how much I looked forward to it.
Don’t get me wrong, my paintings were still amateurish at best, they still looked wobbly and nothing like the ones in the book. I still have a long way to go. Yesterday I finally drew my first flower, I was happy with the results, so of course, I shared it with my brother, who send a text back to me that said, ‘Cool colour, why does the flower look so weird though?’. Needless to say, I felt crestfallen after that. Later I thought about all the time I had fun, incorporating new colours, trying out new tints and hues learning how to make fog with watercolour, how to make shadows and so many more cool things which I never would have known otherwise. I remembered how I started looking at everything in a new light. I had seen beautiful landscapes and tried mentally to figure out how to achieve that effect with watercolour. I had come a long way from the person I was. I had had a lot of fun along the way. So my brother thought my painting was not that great. So what? I had fun, I loved it. Sometimes we set goals in our lives, we may work hard and accomplish them, we may work hard and end up not accomplishing them. But the real goal is not to achieve the goal, it is to become the person that we will be at the end of the process.
As for the watercolour, I am not giving up yet, I’ve still got a good three weeks to go. I may learn how to paint like in the books, or I may not, the important thing is to enjoy the journey.