Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical words and watercolour

cats

A new perspective

My art journey, Self Developmentphoenixarttally

A new perspective arttally Sometimes a new perspective can make all the difference. At the start of the week I was finding it hard to keep drawing cats. So I decided to change things up a little - but still keep within my theme for the month.

One of my favourite parts of any painting is the eyes.  Today I drew a close up of a cat's face giving me a chance to draw bigger eyes, with more scope for the details I love so much.

Happily I can report that I loved every part of this painting process. Sketching was fun because it was a little bit more of a challenge to try and get all those important proportions right. And a new angle means you have to look harder - even at a familiar subject.

Painting was fun too. A new angle meant different brush strokes would work better as shapes and details were all larger. I must admit I experienced the same sort of delight when I painted an unusual pose earlier in the series - do you remember this one?  A small adjustment like a change in angle, light, distance or pose can make a big difference.

It is funny how a new perspective can be all  it takes to breath new life and enthusiasm into a tired project or problem.

What do you think? Has a new perspective worked for you before?

 

 

Wouldn't you rather be reclining like a cat on a mat?

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

cat on a mat arttally If I am honest, I am getting a little bit tired of painting cats. But I am persisting. What good is a self imposed challenge without a bit of self discipline? It is always quite fun once I get into it, but I am finding that I seem to have a bit of reluctance to face the page at the moment and put another cat on it.

The beginning of a project can be a bit easier. There is a bit of novelty, it's all rather exciting. But once the initial excitement subsides you have to decide whether you have the determination to keep going. If the 'why' behind your project is still clear to you, and still important, that will help you keep going.  If you sit around waiting to feel inspired, or to just 'be in the mood', your project's chance of success diminishes drastically.

Creating something new is hard. Don't get me wrong - it's fun too. But when it is hard, you need to remember that the only way to get beyond that beginner stage is to keep going, whether you feel like it or not. Steven Pressfield calls this 'Turning Pro'.

There comes a point in your creative endeavour when you have to make a decision to stop approaching your project as an amateur and treat it as a professional practice. Even on days when you would rather just be reclining like a cat on a mat (as opposed to painting one).

"I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp." W. Somerset Maugham

A watercolour kitten

My art journeyphoenixarttally

A kitten in watercolour arttally There is something irresistible about kittens. Even those who are not so partial to cats can't help but succumb to their charms.

In choosing a playful subject like a watercolour kitten I am hoping to remind myself to keep an attitude of play in the painting process.  I think this is really important for many reasons, and feel strongly enough about that to  have written about it before!

I have been enjoying painting cats more than I actually thought I would. I think that has made me want to paint them more skillfully. Consequently I am finding it harder and harder not to be disappointed with the outcome.  So playful kittens as subjects are my current solution.

I think it works quite well. How can you not feel happy after staring at cute kittens for an hour or so?

Painting with watercolour is glorious

My art journeyphoenixarttally

painting with watercolour I saw a picture of a very regal looking grey cat, sitting in a lovely natural setting.  I was looking forward to drawing him. Sadly, I can't say I liked the finished painting. Ah well... another day, another cat.

It has to be said that even though I didn't love the painting I ended up making, I always love painting with watercolour.  The process of pushing paint over textured paper and watching pigments flow and mingle in the water is undeniably glorious.  You really have to try it.

Don't let the inner critic with her harsh judgement spoil the whole experience in the final moments. And if you can, try to let go of attachment to the results before you begin. Oddly enough, the less one cares about creating impressive output, the better it turns out.

Try it for yourself. (Please don't forget to let us know if it holds true for you!)

 

Cat no 7

My art journeyphoenixarttally

Cat no 7 arttally I wanted to paint this cat as soon as I saw it. I love the playfulness - nice to see she is still in touch with her inner kitten.

It was hard to know when to stop when this one. After much fiddling and adjusting I finally made myself put the paintbrush down and declare it done. So this is it for Cat No 7.

Getting past the 'ugly' stage of a painting... or not

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

getting past the ugly stage of a painting arttally I painted my first cat today without my Crazy Cat class - which I am rather missing, to be honest.  Actually I also painted my second cat without Miriam's help. And the second is the one I am showing you. The first one is beyond redemption I fear.

All paintings go through an 'ugly' stage as we like to say. Usually you can get past this stage if you just persist. However, I think it is also wise to know when to quit. Let's call it letting go and moving on as opposed to quitting, shall we?

I used to think that moving beyond the ugly stage with a watercolour painting was impossible. In that regard acrylic is much more forgiving as the paint dries fast and is opaque, so it easily covers whatever it is placed on top of. Watercolour is transparent, and some colours stain so lifting out colour can be harder in some instances. Considerably more patience (or a hair dryer) may also be necessary as watercolour paint behaves differently on dry, damp and saturated paper. Not only do you need patience - you also need some experience to know how the paint will behave in each of those instances. The only way to gather that experience is to get on with making more paintings, whether they be good, bad or ugly.

I have learned that you can experiment, tinker and correct watercolour paintings far more than I once believed possible. But sometimes all you need to do is take a deep breath and find a new sheet of paper.

Ok, I know I have now made you more curious about the painting I 'let go of' than the one I posted up here. The question is... am I brave enough to show you....?

getting past the ugly stage arttally

... oh alright... here it is.

Sigh.

Let's not speak of it again.

Learning to draw is good for you

Beginner Resources, My art journey, Self Developmentphoenixarttally

learning to draw is good for you This is Redford. He is my fourth project in the Crazy Cats class with Miriam Schulman.

This project felt a little more daunting than the others, somehow. It felt like it required a lot more drawing. I procrastinated a fair bit before I started this painting, and I think it was mostly because of the drawing aspect. That's the thing with watercolour, isn't it? Most of the time you really need to be able to start with a decent sketch, so if you are uncomfortable drawing it makes watercolour painting really hard.

Funnily enough, the part I enjoyed the most with this painting was the drawing.  Having to spend a little more time on the sketch gave me a chance to remember that I really love the process of drawing.  It is one of the most relaxing creative pursuits I can think of. If you can stop worrying about how it is going to turn out, and surrender to the process of careful observation and mark making, time slips by.  You can escape the world for a moment and just be in the present, enjoying the tactile experience of marking textured paper with graphite.  Taking the time to appreciate lights and shadows, shapes and lines.

And then as an added bonus when you are done you get to splash colour and water all over it. Can't think of a better way to pass an hour or two...

 

Painting white cats

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

Painting white cats arttally Today, I am painting white cats.

Painting anything white with watercolour can be a little tricky. Essentially the idea is not to paint the white object, rather to paint its shadows, with the palest of greys and blues and purples. The last time I did this it was for daisies, and the whole thing got me quite philosophical.

Today Miriam is helping me again. This particular cat is Frosty. He (or she?) is the subject of the second project in the online class called Crazy Cats. Still haven't quite got the hang of the fine white whiskers... but I'm working on it!

New month, new series.... cats!

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

new month new series... cats It's the start of a new month, so it's the start of a new series. This month is going to be all about cats. I am doing another class with Miriam Schulman over at the Inspiration Place, called Crazy Cats.

This month I am going to paint a daily cat in watercolour on 300gsm paper. I am going to miss painting flowers, but at least I get to paint eyes again this month - one of my favourite things!

If you are interested in taking Miriam's class, it starts out with some very well thought out drawing lessons using various drawing materials. Don't think cats are too hard to draw - Miriam makes it easy. The next part of the course involves drawing cats from reference photos and then painting them in watercolour. Step by step instructions for everything. Fun!