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If you would have asked me, even six months ago, if I would find watercolors as my medium of choice, I would have rolled my eyes and walked away.  Watercolors are hard.  They lack vibrant dimensions.  They are just plain boring.  Right?

Then I started playing in my Pinterest ideas.  So many ideas I had saved used watercolors.  As I was playing, I realized that working in watercolors is one of the best mediums for me at this stage in my life.  They are cheap.  They are portable.  The mess is significantly less than any other medium (painting).  They didn’t stink.

I can work with watercolors at my desk at work without any problem.  I require limited supplies – a paintbrush, a water cup, a tray of watercolors, and paper.  Clean up consists of closing the lid on the tray and dumping my water.  I do rinse my brush out of habit but rinsing it in the water should be enough.

Working in watercolors has allowed me to experiment with paint techniques and not have to wait until I have time and space to work with my acrylics.  I do have watercolors in the tube but I have two trays of watercolor that are fairly nice.  I’ve discovered, thanks to the Frugal Crafter, that I can use my tube watercolors to refill my tray.  I’ve already refilled two squares.

So let me show you some of the experiments.

One of my earliest experiments in resists.  I used rubber cement, a cardboard cutout and two stencils so I could see which would have the better results:

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Watercolor “dots” in stenciled letters:

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Random watercolor as a background.  Cut circles out of index cards to make stencils and then sponged on acrylic paint:

 

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Watercolor “flowers” created by blowing watercolor through a straw:

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Layered watercolor with the idea of making a space background.  The picture is blurry and it’s a rather boring “painting” but the experiment was working with layers of color:

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Then on to masking.

This is a cloud mask that I did in both watercolor and pastel.  Both have a great look:

A slightly more complicated masking that was supposed to be trees and snowy hills but I didn’t like the tree stencil I was using so I gave up early.  I like the hill mask.

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My latest experiment was to replicate a card front that had ornaments in a tree (sort of).  I liked that the ornaments were simple circles which I used my punches to make out of post-it notes.  I had way too much fun making the background.  I want you to know I used a cheap watercolor paintbrush.  I just played with it until I was able to figure out how to make the different strokes.  Since this was an experiment, I didn’t care how the end result looked.  I love the end result but nothing I did was with the finish in mind.

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Once I had the background dried, I painted the ornaments using the mask to cover the ornament that was in the center while I painted the blue one behind it.  It was amazingly fun.  I, even, pulled out my gold sharpie to make the tops of the ornaments.

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Well I hope this inspires you to try some experiments yourself.  And to give watercolor a chance.  I never would have thought I’d like it but every time I play with them I love them more and more.  They give me a whole lot more freedom than I would have imagined.  Just think you could take a tray to a coffee shop to play.  Had I only known when my son was younger, I wouldn’t have given up painting.

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