watercolor herbs

Marian Parsonscrafts

When I get into something, I get into it.  I don’t mess around.  If I get into a TV show, I will binge watch.  And, yes, sometimes I get impatient and read the synopsis for episodes ahead of where I am, so the suspense won’t be so intense and I can go to sleep at a reasonable hour.  This is one reason why I don’t read very often, although I love reading.  I just get engrossed and irresponsible!

As I shared last week, when I took the watercolor class at Haven, it clicked for me.  I haven’t found a paint I loved so much since I started working with milk paint.

In many ways, they are alike.  What makes them different is also what makes them wonderful and challenging all at the same time.  When you get them, though, and use their quirks and unique qualities to your advantage, magical things happen.

I am just a little bitty baby when it comes to my experience with watercolor, so I’m not about to share a tutorial or anything, but I thought it would be fun to share my journey with you and what I’m discovering along the way.

I shared this in my keynote presentation at Haven – Part of the charm of blogs is when we simply share what we’re doing.  It doesn’t mean we’re an expert or leading authority on the issue.  We’re just sharing and maybe our journey will encourage others who are in the same place we are.

So, in my limited experience thus far, I’m learning that I like watercolors best when I build them up from light opacity to dark.  I start with a light wash, almost sketching the design.


…and then I’ll come back in with more intense and opaque layers.  This builds a lot of depth and aspects of the subject look closer or further away.


I’m also learning that water colors are very forgiving.  You can be a little wayward and messy with them and it’ll still look good.  I don’t think I could get away with these messy brush strokes with acrylics, but with watercolors, it works.


My favorite part so far, though, is how you can use the water to spread color in an organic way through a painted area.  I painted these leaves green, but when they were still wet, I dabbed some yellow into the water, allowing the color to spread through the green.


You can also direct where you want the color to be concentrated to simulate light and shadow.



I’m also learning how to add detail to make a painting really pop.


On a whim, I made the decision to draw a faint blue shadow around each herb, just to lift it off the page a little.  It’s a subtle thing, but I love how it turned out.  I was afraid I mucked it up on the first one when a hint of green blurred into the blue, but that ended up looking intentional.  That’s what I mean by forgiving.


Even though I’m new to watercolors, I have been doing decorative painting for a long time, so I do think that being comfortable with a brush has made this easier for me to pick up.

And now I want to water color everything.

See?  I get engrossed.

While we’re on the subject of herbs, I want to show these beautiful herb markers by Ariana Ost, a designer based out of New York.


She sent them to me as a gift and I thought they were just the prettiest things.


My herbs (and all of my plants/flowers) are in a tragic state due to the lack of rain in our area (and my neglect), so watercolor herbs will have to do for now.



Hopefully, gardening will go better next year and I can use these little beauties in some pots…

watercolor herbs

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