Starting small

We were able to spend the weekend at the beach as a family, and I brought my watercolors with me. I flipped through my sketchbook when I was packing my art supplies and noticed that I had several unfinished paintings from the past few weeks. In each case, I had sketched out a complex scene on location, and had not finished it before it was time to go home! Each sketch was a lovely start, but I get overly ambitious with making detailed sketches, and I really wanted to finish my beach paintings. So, I took some small scraps of really nice watercolor paper that I had trimmed to do some 11″x22″ illustration spreads, cut them into little rectangles, and taped them in my sketch book. They were so small that I had to choose a simple composition, and I couldn’t get lost in the details.

In this case, I wanted to focus on the amazing colors of the water and the sky, and the fuzzy looking vegetation on the horizon. It seemed too simple as I started to paint, and I was afraid they would be boring! I’m really happy with how it turned out, though– I love the texture of the watercolor with those beachy blues!

I like how making a small painting forces me to simplify my plan. And maybe I’ll work up to a slightly larger painting next time– maybe 6″x6″?!