When a Painting Doesn’t Go As Planned | Watercolor Painting Process and Art Talk

When a Painting Doesn’t Go As Planned | Watercolor Painting Process and Art Talk


Hello everyone and welcome! My name is Noelle, and I’ll be painting a purple-y cloud sunset watercolor painting. In this video, I would like to explain my process for this piece and my thoughts about when creating a piece of art doesn’t go as planned. I personally have had this issue throughout my artistic journey, and I believe it’s a topic others can relate to as well. I started this piece with a very simple pencil sketch of the horizon line and lightened it a bit with a kneaded eraser. My taping method allowed me to paint on the edges of the paper, but also taped down to the table so it remains clean and flat. The initial wash began with a layer of clear water and carefully applying a yellow-orange paint mixture near the bottom. As I’ve mentioned in previous videos, the trick is to avoid mixing green and the gradient between the blue and yellow paint, and I achieved this by making my yellow more orangey and not overworking the wash. Be very gentle and very careful. I messed with a small area to paint the Sun by adding paint, adding clear water, and lifting the paint. While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I was mixing paint for my next layer when I flicked paint all over my canvas. Aside from being in shock for a solid 10 seconds, this didn’t bother me because I knew that I intended to paint over most of it, anyway. I painted my first layer of the horizon, let that dry, and jumped into painting the clouds. This piece, like most of my other ones, is very experimental, I started with an idea about how I was going to paint these clouds which was to work in chunks in the form of several small washes rather than the entire sky at one time as one large wash. My goal was not to replicate my reference photo to a T, but as someone learning to paint clouds, I didn’t want to stray too far away from the photo and miss some interesting and unexpected cloud details. As you might be able to tell I am trying out different techniques like wet-on-wet washes, softening edges, lifting paint, adding more paint, and just simply playing around. For puffier clouds, I applied a layer of clear water onto the surface and applied my paint mixture on top. If I want a hard edge to be softer, I lifted paint around the edges of the shape so it blends into the background smoothly. This general idea pretty much encompasses my entire process in this portion of the painting, and I hope my editing skills have been able to demonstrate that well for you watching. My original reference photo had a spot in the lower-left area of the painting where the Sun is peeking through the clouds and glows, and this was one of the things that drew me into painting this scene in the first place. I ended up changing it at the very end because I felt like it wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. When I look back at my footage now, I don’t think it turned out as bad as I felt it was at the time. It worked as a strong focal point for this piece and that’s also why I enjoyed the reference photo so much. In the process, you can probably tell I messed with the Sun spot several times in an effort to make it look just right and flow nicely with the purple in the clouds surrounding it. I debated about whether I should include footage of my painting process for the Sun glare in this video because it did not make a strong appearance in the finished painting. I decided that, even though I covered it up, others watching this video might have liked it and appreciated the demonstration. Besides, you can still see through the top layer of paint, and it’s a neat look itself. The change isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just different. I feel like the painting was good either way and I was especially pleased with how the clouds turned out. I know this isn’t a bad painting, but as you’ve read in the title of this video, these are just some thoughts about when a painting doesn’t go as planned. No matter what, this was a learning experience for me and I hope that, in this video, others can learn something as well. So… what do you do when a project isn’t going as planned? Well, my short answer would be to give it time. This piece was changed because I was feeling some frustration with how it was going, but I know it would have helped me to take a snack break or to go to bed, since it was getting late and I was becoming fatigued. A lot of artists describe the need to take a break and have a new set of eyes on a piece. Give yourself time to decide what to do. We can easily be blinded by what we’re looking at if we’re looking at it for too long, and a break is necessary for any form of practice. If I were to paint this again, I think I would take a scrap piece of paper and practice painting the Sun glare and different ways on that. That way I can focus on the specific section of the painting by itself without the distraction from a whole piece. This works for any project, not just watercolor. Just because I have a feeling some people will ask, I am including a link to my photo reference in the description so you can try it yourself. I think I got all of my thoughts down but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I am excited to read what you have to say based on your personal experiences. For the art supplies I am using in this video, they are all listed in the description below. For art supplies I use and recommend to others, you can visit my Amazon Storefront Lists link below where I’ll receive a commission from items purchased following the link. I hope you enjoyed watching this process! If you did consider giving me a thumbs up or subscribing to my channel. You can find me on my social media, I am the most active on my Instagram Thank you so much for watching, and make it a great day!

15 thoughts on “When a Painting Doesn’t Go As Planned | Watercolor Painting Process and Art Talk

  1. This is so good! The end result is beautiful, but I really appreciate your thoughts on working through challenges. Some paintings will always feel like a battle until the very last second. It's so important to resist frustration and embrace the process when possible. Your videos always make me want to drop what I'm doing and go paint!

  2. Can't believe you painted over the lovely glowing sun in the end, though I understand your frustration. Beautiful painting nevertheless and i really like your narration. Hope to see many more of your tutorials!

  3. This is so inspiring, thank you for sharing and talking along to explain your thoughts and feelings as you painted.
    At 7:42 you mention a link to your reference photo (yes, we would like to see it, as you said) but I don't see that link, did I miss it?

    Thank you for all your videos, I love your work.

  4. This video will help me to work thru a piece I am struggling with. I hate feeling like I am waisting art materials when I really screw up a painting. There's no way to just paint over a water color like you can with oil and acrylic.
    I like how this one finally ended up. I especially like the clouds. Clouds and water are my biggest challenges. Nice job. Thanks for posting it.

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