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Last year, I bought this book:  (click on image to go to Amazon)

I bought 4×4 canvases and all the necessary acrylic paint.  After a year, I was unable to get very far in the book.  It comes down to two things – time and clean-up.  Acrylic paint has to be used while it is wet.  I hate the idea of wasting but I am not very good at accessing how tiny of a drop I need.  With little paintings, I was wasting a lot of paint.  The paint went on canvases or paper for backgrounds for other projects but I was getting about 1 extra to almost every single painting I did.

The book has a few issues, such as I don’t like the instructions.  They are weird to me.  I’ve been painting for almost 30 years and the instructions in this book does not match any other instruction I have been given.  Add it all up and I was seriously picking at the book.  (My husband was supposed to be doing it with me but he found he liked creating his own paintings.)

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I added the book to my UFO pile and then brainstormed how I could accomplish the goal of finishing the book.  Since I am learning to play with art, I decided I could completely change the rules.  My goal is to practice painting.  Learning new techniques is always good but the real goal is to just paint.  To do that, I need to find a way to let myself paint more often.
I was never a big watercolorist but I’ve discovered a real love for the portability of watercolors.  Thanks to the frugalcrafter, I’ve learned that you can let your watercolors dry out and you can still use them.  That got rid of the waste part.  Using water brushes gives me portability.

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I have this set of Royal Langnickel watercolors in the tube.  There are 24 colors so I have a really good assortment.  Not exactly a 100% match to what acrylics I have but enough that I could figure out what colors I need to use.  I had this leftover palette from some other kit which worked perfectly.  Twelve colors covered all the bases.  In some ways, I could have done with less since I could have blended my own orange or swapped it with a green because I mix a lot of green and use the orange very little.  Anyway, that’s not really here nor there.

Originally, I was only going to add the colors I needed as I needed them.  Might have allowed me to change my color choices but that meant, potentially, having wet paint several times so I went with an all in decision.

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I love these inkjet postcards.  Someone gave them to me when they did an office cleanout and they are perfect for little paint projects.  I love them and will be sad when they are gone.  Since they are quarter of a page, I’m pretty sure I can make my own.

The water brushes are another thing I just love.  They allow me to paint with watercolors without worrying about cups of water.  There is so little setup when I want to paint.   I refill from my water bottle so I don’t even have to leave my desk as I work.  To clean the brushes, I squeeze a little water and then wipe them clean.  They do get a little wet but a dry cloth solves that problem.

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I will say my choice of paper and medium have changed the way I can create these paintings.  Watercolor doesn’t layer like acrylic.  Once acrylic is dry, you can’t blend another color into it but you can with watercolor.  However, using inkjet cardstock instead of watercolor paper means that the paint doesn’t lift.  Every stroke pretty much stays on the paper.  I can soften lines and blend a little but my control is not like it would be if I was using the proper medium or proper paper.

This may sound frustrating but it’s actually freeing.  In some ways, I can overlook mistakes or imperfections.  But it also challenges me to see what I can do to make the painting look as I wish it would look.

All in all, I am painting.  I’m having fun and I’m not overly stressed if it’s painting of quality.  It gives me a creative boost for my week.  I encourage you to try changing the rules on things that are holding you up, it’s amazing how a project changes.

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