inspired to sketch.
saturday, january 7th, 2023.
I started watercoloring during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. I've got a few pieces on the wiki. When the lockdowns let up, I let my art practice fall by the wayside.
When I first started, my inspiration came from other watercolor artists on Instagram. Mateusz Urbanowicz and @brejanz are two that I can remember, but there were countless more than I've forgotten since deleting my Instagram account. Man, there were some cool artists on that social media platform.
Anyway, I stumbled upon Mattias Adolfsson's work the other day, courtesy of Colossal. I'm excited to say that I'm inspired to get back into my watercoloring practice! Adolfsson's moleskine doodles really line up with the aesthetic and medium I'd like to work in.
Speaking of aesthetic, have you seen this video with Ira Glass (of This American Life) describing the gap between your taste and what you're making? It's real good.
Back to making art: I think that the size of the medium I've been working with has been preventing me from getting started. I've got a few pads of 8"x8" square watercolor paper that I've been using. I've also got some larger pads, but I really enjoyed the square format for framing and hanging.
Sitting down to fill such a space usually takes me a few hours. My favorite part of watercoloring is focusing on fine details, and doing so on a large canvas takes time. By the time I get around to doing the darker colors for the last pass, I'm tired of painting and just want it to be done.
While searching to find the artists who inspired me on Instagram a few years ago, I ran across Russell Stutler's Book About Sketching. What a treasure trove of information! His page about choosing a medium was really helpful. He describes this concept called "sketch energy," which is basically the artistic equivalent of spoon theory— you only have so much energy to spend making art before you get tired.
So, yeah! Those big 8"x8" canvasses might be a bit much for me to handle in one sitting. I ordered a few supplies, namely a 3.5"x5.5" moleskine watercolor notebook and a Cotman pocket set. They'll be coming in the mail next week.
I think that having a smaller, portable medium that I can bring with me wherever I go might be the ticket to making art more often. Fewer supplies, a canvas that can be completed quickly— I'm basically lowering the friction to, well, do the thing.
I'm looking forward to these supplies coming in and getting back into making art next weekend!