Two years ago I created a blog post called “Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners.” The post outlined the steps I took to create this birch forest painting.
I created this image to go with it and pinned it on Pinterest.
The post became my most viewed post. Currently it has over 47,000 views!
For a long time I aspired to create a watercolor video lesson. It is much easier to learn by watching something then to read about it. But I struggled with the exact format I would use to create the video lesson. Finally I came up with a format and figured my most popular post was the obvious lesson to start with.
Instead of a long continuous video where I explain what I’m doing as I paint the project, my format is as follows. For almost every step, you can listen as I explain the step. You can also read the slide to follow along. Then you can watch a video demonstration of that step. My hope is that this format will better communicate the nuance of each step.
I’m really excited to see how effective the video lesson is. The birch forest painting project is such a great project for beginners. You learn so much about watercolor while painting the project. And it yields a great final painting at any level.
Easy Birch Forest Watercolor Online Video Painting Lesson – Learn Watercolor with this simple project!
Learn several watercolor techniques
10 step, easy to follow 17 minute video lesson
Listen and/or read the easy to follow instructions, watch a video demonstrations of each step
I love the hashtag “#doitfortheprocess.” I don’t know who first used it, but the message behind it is an important one, especially for me.
Years ago when I took that first drawing class, I created a drawing of a bear that we were surprised looked somewhat realistic. It was a milestone for me. My husband wanted to frame it. I had to have it custom framed because it wasn’t a standard size. After that I tried to work within standard sizes because they’d be easier and much cheaper to frame. But, I became almost paralyzed to make a mark on a drawing because I might ruin a “framable” piece. By jumping ahead and assuming each piece was going in a frame, I put a lot of pressure on myself! When I realized the problem, I released myself and starting approaching each creative session as play. The sketchbook became important to me because it’s not usually for finished pieces.
Now that I started selling prints of my paintings, I sometimes feel that familiar pressure. I think, “I have to make this one good so I can add it to the shop.” Finishing a painting can be the most stressful part! I want to tweak it and make it “perfect” but I also don’t want to ruin it. “Do it for the process” has been running through my head a lot. I try to paint early in the morning, when the kids have just left for school. This time is meditative, relaxing. Especially now that I’m trying, again, to free myself from the pressure. Every painting doesn’t have to be sellable. It’s good to experiment and explore and push myself. It’s good to play.
I sometimes complain that I don’t have enough time. Summer break has started and the kids are at swim practice for only two hours each morning. That is a huge difference from the six hours they were at school. But I’m still feeling very productive in my work and creative projects. How is that possible?
I have more to do. When I have one straggling little project, I’m not motivated. For some reason when I have multiple projects going on it lights a fire under me. Just this morning I noticed that with each item I checked off my list, I was motivated to tackle the next item.
I’m not being pulled in a million directions. If things are busy in a few areas I can focus on them. Entertain the kids, do my work, take care of the household tasks/errands, work on my creative projects. A few weeks ago there were tons of end of year school things to prepare for and attend, etc. That made getting to the other stuff hard. Life is feeling simpler these days.
It’s the quality of the time not the quantity. I’ve had plenty of free afternoons where the most I accomplished is binge watching shows on netflix. If I have a clear mind I can be creative. Mornings are my best time. And being creative leads to more creativity.
Strike when the iron is hot. If I have any idea for a blog post or thoughts for the next issue of my newsletter, I try to embrace that and write it then. I’m most productive when I’m called to work on something than when I have to do something.
I’m more productive when time is limited. Give me an open week and I’ll struggle with when to do what. Give me a small window of time, like 2 hours when the kids are at swim, and I’ll hit the ground running.
I’m a list maker in all aspects of my life. When it comes to my creative projects, I have a general list I look at often, to make sure I’m working on all the areas I want to work on.
My Creative List
Fabric Prints – at least one new design a month
Enamel Pins – summer pin coming soon
Daily Sketchbook Work
Writing blog posts – at least 2x a week
Create newsletter – My Creative Collection – every other week
Continue exploring having art giclee prints made
Create a shopping cart to sell prints, etc.
Post on Instagram several times a week
Pin on Pinterest daily
Include affiliate links when it works with content
I thought it would be appropriate to design a banner that better represented what I do. So, why not a sketch of my painting setup? I’ve kept my bear in there, on the can holding the brushes. If you are wondering what’s with the bear – read my about page.
The New Year, has given me a recharge. I’m more committed to being creative than I was at the start (of 2014). I’m excited to pursue all the different things I’m interested in (painting, illustration, surface design, animation). I’m trying to doodle in my sketchbook every day. I ask myself for only 5 minutes. Even on the busiest days, I can spare that right? It’s relaxing, and it allows me time to come up with ideas. I usually do it early in the morning, while I wait for the kids to get ready. It puts me in a creative mindset for the day. And because of that, I usually end up creating later in the day.
Hope your New Year is off to a creative start too!
One of the ways I’ve been able to incorporate creating into my daily life, is by having my supplies close by. I use a closet close to the kitchen table for storing my paints, brushes, paper, sketchbooks, inspiration magazines, and more. It makes it so easy to pull stuff out and work. Clean up is quick too. Since I recently organized my art supplies, I decided to give you a peek! Happy Sunday!
I finished the four paintings that I working on in “assembly line” fashion. Click here to read more about how I approached working on these paintings.
Results: The results of the experiment are best described by this analogy: It’s like raising kids. You raise them in the same way – same environment, same food, activities, etc. but they all require different special attention and they all turn out different. And with each kid, you are a bit wiser (and more tired) so you do things differently each time – but maybe not better.
This is the inspiration painting:
The four painting above are numbered. Some of them were “worked” on more. For # 1-3 I used white gouache. As I worked I wasn’t sure what methods would be most successful – more details? more shadows? more white? more variation in color?
I’d love to hear what you have to say! Leave a comment and answer my poll below.
Conclusion: (Don’t all experiments have a conclusion?) Working this way, really allowed me to explore this type of painting and subject matter in more and more depth. If I had only painted one beach landscape, I wouldn’t have had the chance to try different techniques.
TRY IT! and let me know your results (and thoughts). Link to this post or if you’re on Instagram use #assemblylinepainting. Can’t wait to see! 🙂