• It’s important for all artists to educate themselves on copyright – it’s a complicated topic!

  • Copying is a great way to learn! I think part of the process of learning is that desire to do something ‘more’ and it becomes so exciting to put more of self into the art. And there is never any shame in being a beginner, a learner or looking back at the work that led to the development of where we are now. I’m so glad we are able to be proud of…[Read more]

  • I became so much more satisfied in my work when I began painting for me first. This brought significance to my art even when it didn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s always like meeting a friend when you encounter another artist who understands this. Thank you!

  • Absolutely! It’s all about logging those brush miles!

  • Yes, you are so right; it is part of the process! When you know your tendencies to overwork it becomes easier to keep them in check, but it takes time to learn to trust yourself. You will get there!

  • The first painting I ever made was, unfortunately, a copyright violation. Not that I knew it at the time. I was sixteen years old, and for my birthday, I’d been given a set of watercolor pencils. On the box was a

    • This is wonderful inspiration. Thank you for sharing. Your work is beautiful.

    • I kept painting, and the painting. I was never able to bring back the joy I had felt in that first layer. Oh my goodness this happens tp me ALOT and I start this cylce if amI really doing what I believe I must. I say yes I always get in this overthink phase and that’s what ruins tings. I am so glad to have read this today!! I am not alone and its all part of the process. Thanks!

      • Yes, you are so right; it is part of the process! When you know your tendencies to overwork it becomes easier to keep them in check, but it takes time to learn to trust yourself. You will get there!

    • Nice post😊👍 Every painting from the past is a stepping stone to becoming a better artist….

    • I had no idea I was violating copyright until I joined our local watercolor society and it was part of their rules for entries. I was already retired and taking local community college classes in the emeritus program and the teacher never mentioned it. in fact, she would bring in clippings from magazines as examples for us to paint. I had spent most of my life painting calendar pictures sent to my from my relatives in Germany, something I still like to do. But until I joined the water color society copyright violation had never occurred to me because I was changing the medium from a photo to a painting.

      The first painting of the Matterhorn still shows the budding artist in you, even though you see it as amateur now. You did something that can be very hard for the rest of us. You edited it. You left out the flag pole and other objects that cluttered the original. You didn’t try to paint a photo likeness.

      I’ve kept almost every painting I’ve done so far. (I’ve sold one and given two as gifts.) While it might be cringe-worthy I do occasionally force myself to go back and look at them from the first I painted until my most recent just to see the progress I have made. Maybe at some point I will get rid of the early copyright violation paintings but for now, I think they serve a purpose. I will still do a copy or two of some photo I’ve found just to practice a certain technique.

      • Copying is a great way to learn! I think part of the process of learning is that desire to do something ‘more’ and it becomes so exciting to put more of self into the art. And there is never any shame in being a beginner, a learner or looking back at the work that led to the development of where we are now. I’m so glad we are able to be proud of our work as we create it, even though better art lies ahead as our skills grow.

    • A study is not a copyright violation. In the same way that you might use a quote from a famous book to practice your penmanship, using a copyrighted photo to practice your technique is perfectly legal. It only becomes a copyright violation if you are entering it in contests, selling it, using it to teach your own workshops, or otherwise benefiting professionally and/or financially.

    • Wonderful words from a wonderful artist. Thank you for sharing your art and explaining so well, some of the feelings that go along with the journey.

    • I became so much more satisfied in my work when I began painting for me first. This brought significance to my art even when it didn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s always like meeting a friend when you encounter another artist who understands this. Thank you!

    • Interesting discussion started on copyrights. I take a watercolor class that is mostly about techniques and many times I have had someone offer to buy the work. When I tell them that I can’t sell it because it isn’t my composition and also that it was done under the steady eye of an instructor, they are surprised. I take photographs of everything! When it is time for me to paint, I first go to my photo collections for my own work, and if not, lean on the “free images” available on search engines for animals, flowers and other artifacts for the composition. Copyrights are complicated, best to create your own archive of materials and images if possible. Inspiring post, thank you.

    • Excellent write-up and so very true. It’s something I have to constantly remind myself of, and keep from trying to please everyone but myself.

    • Wow..You have written such an inspirational post from your heart…Your tutorial and posts are so helpful…They have helped me in understanding what mistakes I am making and in trying out new techniques…

    • Thanks Charlie for another inspirational article! On 26 January this year I set a goal to to a Watercolour Sketch a Day and have thus far done 16. Today is Day 17 and am thoroughly enjoying the journey. 🙂

    • Angela,

      I truly enjoyed reading this article. You made three points that really resonated with my art journey and hope to keep in the front of my mind as I paint:

      “I can look back and see that change does occur and trust that growth will continue to happen as long as I am painting.”

      “I kept painting, and overworked the painting. I was never able to bring back the joy I had felt in that first layer.”

      “I grew more frustrated with my desire to paint for others rather than for myself.”

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us.

    • This is gold. Thank you.

  • Thank you! My mission has always been to free artists to do what works best for our differing learning styles. It’s exciting to see that we can learn in OUR way and not feel guilty about not being as academic in approach as others. And the turquoise eyeliner is perhaps a mid-life crisis, but totally worth it!

  • Right!? I don’t want to have to remember colour and number both – I have way too much else on my mind! When you learn by doing, you get to internalize the information in a way that works for you.

  • Thank you, Sandra! It’s definitely been a trend, and there’s more to making gorgeous colours than pigment numbers, for sure. I really find I do best when I just use the colour and get to know it, although there are some really good resources online to help compare colours and brands.

  • Thank you so much, Laura! Colour should just be fun, and the theory kind of a nice perk as we learn how to make our paintings better, I think. 🙂

  • Lately it seems like there’s a lot of buzz about choosing the right colors for painting in watercolor. Artists are studying pigment numbers, comparing mixes between brands and searching for the perfect c

    • Angela is one of my favorite “Artist Heroes” and this article is a good example of why that is so. Her love of art, color and creativity is very contagious. Thank you again Doodlewash for providing an ever expanding platform for watercolor artists.

      • Thank you so much, Laura! Colour should just be fun, and the theory kind of a nice perk as we learn how to make our paintings better, I think. 🙂

    • Excellent explanation of colors and their identification. I was glad to see your comments on pigment identification and its limitations. There is so much emphasis placed on it, and then you see 12 different colors that are all PR101 and huh? It is almost as if someone set out to make it confusing. Articles like yours definitely help in understanding what’s going on.

      • Thank you, Sandra! It’s definitely been a trend, and there’s more to making gorgeous colours than pigment numbers, for sure. I really find I do best when I just use the colour and get to know it, although there are some really good resources online to help compare colours and brands.

    • Great article. I especially appreciate your comment about pigment numbers because I really struggle with comprehending that whole side of watercolour paint ( my brain doesn’t do numbers and science generally) so I am encouraged to just keep using my eye and instinct.

      • Right!? I don’t want to have to remember colour and number both – I have way too much else on my mind! When you learn by doing, you get to internalize the information in a way that works for you.

    • Thanks Angela for all the great information in this post. You sure know how to take the pressure off and to allow for fun and spontaneity in painting. And I love that you bought turquoise eyeliner!

      • Thank you! My mission has always been to free artists to do what works best for our differing learning styles. It’s exciting to see that we can learn in OUR way and not feel guilty about not being as academic in approach as others. And the turquoise eyeliner is perhaps a mid-life crisis, but totally worth it!

    • You’re welcome! Have fun!

    • Thanks for the tips, Angela!

    • I’ve been following your work/tutorials for quite some time now and find your advice is so empowering. If I get stuck on something, I often will ask myself, ‘What would Angela say, how would she move forward?” I can see my work improving and really think that I could become one of my ‘favorite artists’. Many thanks for all that you share with us.

    • Excellent article. Thank you for sharing Angela.
      It’s so much easier, for me, and a lot more, fun to remember colors than numbers.

    • This is just perfect. Many, many thanks for all the time you spend helping watercolour enthusiasts!

    • Interesting! In terms of usine colors in gallons, quarts and pints, I have come to think of the proportions of my color choices as : Star, Supporting Role, and Extra.

  • After twenty years of painting, I have acquired thousands of reference photos from my home and my travels. I love that when I paint from my collection, I’m not just painting pretty places, I’m reliving mem

    • Great article, Angela! I do tend to get trapped in the details and have been trying to get away from that. You’ve given me a good reminder of what I need to do to avoid the trap.

    • I’m so excited to work on getting to that point of interpretation. I can imagine so many possibilities it’s just getting my actively painting brain to execute them instead of seeing what’s there in front of me on the photo.

    • great tips Angela and wright up. It give you as an artist to work in many ways with just one point of interest from your reference mood, color choice.

    • Great advice. Thanks, Angela.

    • Wonderful advice from a wonderful artist! Thank you Angela!

  • I’m a bad watercolor instructor. Until recently, the LAST thing I ever wanted to do was paint from life, in the (gasp!) outdoors! It’s not the bugs, the heat, the wind, the dirt or even really the onlookers. Wha

    • Wonderful tips and video!

    • One of my watercolor heros. Thank you Angela for another wonderful video.

    • Great video! I find plein air difficult as well. I think in part it’s because I’m near-sighted and don’t need to use my glasses when painting at home. Outside, I’m using a whole different form of vision and I feel like I’m staring at one of those 3D images where you have to adjust the way you view to see what hides in all the wild color.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds plein air challenging. As soon as it get a bit cooler here, I’m going to push myself to go do it at least once a week. Thanks for the encouragement you have been a great inspiration to me.

    • Another great video to learn by .

    • I definitely had some frustration at the beginning, mostly since I like to paint detail, and that’s just not always possible plein air. I’ve come to accept and even embrace that my plein air style is not the same style as my studio paintings. The two are clearly relatives, but resemble each other more like siblings or cousins than twins. I find plein air more freeing in that the environment almost encourages you to be looser, quicker, and more suggestive in your techniques to capture the object or landscape before something changes. I also found it comforting to take a quick picture at the start, and even if I don’t necessarily use it, it takes some pressure off. If I’m called away or something I really liked about the scenario changes, I have the photo as backup to fill in the remaining gaps to finish the painting as I want.

    • Thanks Angela..I tried this tutorial and have posted the picture of my painting in the member’s art gallery…Your tutorial was helpful…

  • It helps to have the words, doesn’t it! I was so excited when I realized that I could describe brush water load using these terms and make it easier for my students. 🙂

  • Paper towel can be such a good friend! It will get easier, I promise!

  • Fear doesn’t always listen to reason! I like to tell myself before every painting “It’s just a sketch” and then if it turns out it’s like a bonus!

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