1st Painting Lesson

The last time I took a painting class, it was in school where I tried to make an apple look more than a round object with a twig on the top…and I failed miserably. Since then, I have always considered myself useless at creating anything with a pen, brush, crayons or anything else where my hand actually controls the object in it! I can throw down and smear paints no problem, but if I try to paint something with perspective, I end up throwing my attempts in the bin in frustration.

After a year of card making though, I decided that I can’t go on colouring all my gorgeous flower stamps with my “cheat” techniques. Meaning marbling, smooshing, brushos or wetting my Tombows on the stamp before stamping. ( I wonder if there is a name for that technique…smooshing on stamps?).

watercolour tulips

So I thought it was time to take a painting lesson to learn about shading, perspectives…and oh…how to hold a brush! I went there with those objectives in mind and as the class progressed, I become more and more impatient as I felt I wasn’t learning what I needed. Finally we were asked to copy a watercolour painting of tulips and I was almost crying of frustration as my painting progressed as I just couldn’t control the brush the way I wanted! But then, somewhere along the way, I stopped trying to control my strokes and just…painted, and I ended up with the above. At first I didn’t like it, as it was so far from the original painting, but the more I looked at it, the more I felt proud of myself, especially when people could actually recognise what I had painted! There was hope for me after all! And I painted it with cheap kids watercolour paints too!

watercolour lily

So while I was in London, I went to get proper brushes and watercolours, not the professional grades, but better than the supermarket variety  I was using until now. I tried again to paint today and ended up with the above. It was much harder than the last time, as I only had the primary colours (red, blue, yellow, green…). That is also far from what I was copying so I was disappointed, but my hubby told me he loved it, which saved it from the bin! He also said my problem was that I was trying to produce professional paintings on my first tries…which is true. I have no patience and little tolerance for failure on myself I guess.

But I have determination and I am not a quitter, so I decided it was time to attack those flower stamps! I consecrated my whole weekend to learning how to colour my stamped flowers with my Zigs brushes and colour pencils. I looked through tons of tutorials & images and coloured my flowers again and again and again…and again, before I was finally happy with one coloured freesia!

colour pencil fresia cu

Its still not at the level I want but the fact that there are actually different shades of colours on a petal is actually a huge accomplishment for me! It is so difficult for me to know where to put the lighter or darker areas according to where my source of light is coming from…in this case, from my head…and at the same time try to give some perspective so it doesn’t look like a flat object!

colour pencil fresia

The freesia from Altenew was first stamped with Versamark clear ink so that I had an outline and I coloured them with Cretacolor watercolour pencils. I really like colouring with colour pencils although I don’t think mine are very good as they are hard to sharpen as the nibs keep on breaking off. Anyone knows why that happens? I use the Faber Castell sharpener which has 3 different sizes. Anyway, I wanted to make a one layer card but the paper got so messy while I was colouring so I had to fussy cut it. I water coloured the background with my paints and stamped the sentiment from Hero Arts, before adding my freesia.

I would love to know what you think of my attempts and any hints and tips or tutorial links would be very welcome. I have decided to try and find regular painting classes too although I’m not sure if  I would learn a lot in German,, but at the very least I might learn more German! Lol!

Thanks for stopping by and your comments are always so appreciated!


I’m playing along at:

Altenew March inspiration challenge Altenew.jpg

The Flower Challenge -Anything Goes  the flower challenge

Just add Ink – Anything with a “L”. I added layers and layers of colours! just add ink

Through the Purple Haze – Anything Goes thru the purple haze.png

Cards in Envy – Keep it simple

Colour Crazy challenge – Anything Goes

Splitcoaststampers Inspiration challenge using the colours from a post on CranenCo’s twitter site

18 thoughts on “1st Painting Lesson

  1. Absolutely wonderful! Love both your card and your paintings, I would love to have ‘lessons’ too, but seriously have no time at the moment, but at least I get to do what I love and that is create cards, so life is good! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such beautiful painting’s Gwendolyn. You should be thrilled with your first attempts. They really are amazing. And I love the “L” card that you made for us too. The depth of colour is perfect! Thanks so much for joining us this week at JAI – Chlo xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Gwendolin: Oh my goodness!! you are being so hard on yourself!!! Your Tulips are GORGEOUS!!!!! The beauty of water coloring is that you do not need to be precise and, for this being your first time, you did an amazing job.
    Your Fressia is beautiful, love all the shading and light areas, the colors you used are just perfect.
    Thank you for sharing your art with us at THE FLOWER CHALLENGE, hope you come back to play next time.
    Maria Rodriguez. DT

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too struggle with water color and I’m so glad to know that someone else does too! Watercolorists all make it look so easy when they paint, so why can’t I? But I LOVE your flowers; they are ALL beautiful and I admire your determination to improve your skills. As a life-long teacher, I know the value of hard work and especially determination. You go, girl!!!
    I did see a video yesterday on water-coloring flowers and when I find the link I’ll send it along to you. In the meantime, keep creating, you’re an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharon for your kind words and yes I would appreciate that link. I hope you persist in your watercolouring and I would love to see your attempts too!


  5. Gwendolyn, your painted flowers are exquisite! The blurred edges and depth of colour is fantastic and gives a lovely dreamy feel to them. Your card too is gorgeous – your freesia and the layers of colour and shading is so detailed and I love the interest you’ve added to your background too. Whilst it’s not painting, to learn about shading I would recommend Online Card Classes and a tutorial on Copic Colouring. They also have a water colouring course using paints and many others… The Copic course is quite in depth and has resources you can print and colour along with the teachers and they do talk about how to decide where the light is coming from which seems to be what you are looking for. Thanks for sharing with us at Just Add Ink 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow thanks Jan for your encouraging words and very helpful links, I will certainly check them out. Thanks again!


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