The Process

    Despite having gone to art school, I have not done much painting. And I have never painted watercolors. So when I inherited an entire set of watercolor supplies from my Aunt, I didn’t quite know what to do with it all. Enter #The100DayProject. I decided the best way to stay interested for 100 whole days was to try something I didn’t already know how to do. So I pulled out Aunt Ruth’s watercolors and assessed my situation. There were enough colors to begin with, some beautiful brushes, and a palette. All I needed was paper and I was ready to go.

    The paints are Holbein Artists’ Watercolor tubes, in most of your standard starter set colors: Cadmium Red, Payne’s Grey, Cerulean Blue, Yellow Ochre, etc. Over the 100 days, I added some missing colors and experimented with different brands of paint. I really like Van Gogh paints, which are economical but excellent quality. And I splurged on some Winsor & Newton tubes, which are worth every penny.

    Most of my brushes are Robert Simmons Sapphire watercolor brushes. I added a few Binders Ashford brushes (from my local art shop). I found that I like rounded tip brushes the best.

    The paper I ended up using was the inexpensive Canson XL Watercolor, which has a cold press texture and comes in 9×12 pads. It was perfect for the marathon of 100 watercolors. But for more intentional, higher quality work, I would choose Arches blocks.

    I also used Colorless Art Masking Fluid from Winsor & Newton. It is basically a very thin glue that you brush onto the paper, paint over, and then peel away after the painting is done, leaving areas that are intentionally unpainted.

    Once I had all my materials, the painting turned out to be the easy part! I just…well, started. Tentatively at first, trying out different techniques: color washes, blooming, blending, masking. Slowly I began to identify things I liked doing so I did more of them. Eventually I would grow tired of one style and fumble around until I landed on another, at which point I would explore that technique for a few days or weeks. Occasionally I would introduce new materials; the ones I liked were Pigma Micron pens, Caran d’Ache Neocolor crayons, and graphite pencils.

    It’s amazing how many 100 paintings is. I never imagined it would be such a large collection. I feel as though I gave myself a thorough education in watercolors, and I learned a great deal about my own style as a painter. I think this project helped me to view myself as a real artist, a title that never felt comfortable to me. And before I had even completed the 100 days, I was contemplating other styles of art I could undertake for 100 more days.