Two Big Watercolor Myths! - from guest blogger Heidi Stephens

Two Big Watercolor Myths! - from guest blogger Heidi Stephens

Two big myths about watercolor painting!

What comes to mind when you think about watercolor painting? I used to picture a very serious looking artist in a studio, intently gazing at a model and painting effortless strokes that immediately became the perfect figure painting. Or a painter in a nature scene flooding the paper with water, the brush dripping pigments that elegantly showed the shadows of the leaves. 

My name is Heidi and I am one of the new Brand Reps and Guest Bloggers for The Smiling Hippo. I have degrees in Marine Science and Science Teaching and feature my art and shop as The Jaded Creative (@the_jaded_creative on Instagram). I have been creating since I was in highschool and when I started hand-lettering and painting wreaths I received an influx of compliments and suggestions to open a shop. I resisted for a bit because I have always been told that you can’t make a living as an artist. But, I decided to open a shop because I would be making the art regardless and I wanted to do something with it rather than covering my own walls and piling the paintings in storage.

With the pressure of the business, I was stuck thinking of topics to paint that people would want to buy while at the beach, use to decorate their beach house, or put in a museum gallery. 

Plus, with social media browsing we are able to see hundreds or thousands of other artists and it is easy to be caught up in the trap of comparing yourself to them, how many likes and followers they have, etc. Once I stumbled on Holly’s glittering and shimmering watercolor paints from The Smiling Hippo, a switch clicked in my head. I started my shop focused on selling my art. I was creating art with the idea to sell instead of creating art because I was inspired to create! Here are the two big myths that kept me from reaching my full potential and often keep people from even trying out watercolor painting.

Myth #1: Watercolor painting has to be serious-

Newsflash! NO ART has to be serious! When you paint, draw, or craft something, there are no real rules. Sure there is what is traditionally done, and certain techniques that will help you look skillful, but there is no need for you to stick with traditions just because it’s what is usually done. 

Caption: Use a big brush to create looser lines. Try to paint an idea without sketching it first.

Once I confronted my previous expectations about the art I was creating, I started painting more from the heart. Now I am realizing I have so many more amazing ideas if I step away from conventions and completely allow my creative side to take over.

Caption: Look how that shimmer catches the light! I didn’t have an end in mind when I started painting, I just knew I wanted to paint a flower.

Myth #2 Watercolor painting is difficult-

Does painting a complex portrait or still life take incredible skill? Absolutely. And if you are first starting I will caution you that it can take some time before you will get to that level. But remember that first myth? Your art subject does not have to be serious or complex just because you are using watercolors. 

If you are currently an artist in another medium, a good way to start would be incorporating your other medium into your watercolor painting. You can paint or draw on top of a simple watercolor background. 

Caption: If you are nervous about painting something big, just start with a little watercolor on your piece and you can add your main medium on top!

If you have never even picked up a brush, “The best time to start was yesterday, the second best time is now.” Release the strict expectations you have for the outcome of your painting, and just paint!

Caption: This quick painting only used two colors!

I hope confronting these two myths about watercolor painting will get you out of your head and get a brush into your hand! If you need extra help releasing your inner artist, take a look at the colorful selection in The Smiling Hippo shop.

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