My Life in Watercolor

How A Single Book Got Me Into Watercolor Painting

December
2020

My own portrait of Emily in Paris. 😉
child portrait

My first portrait of a child.

For most of my friends who have known me for years, when someone mentions art, I’m prolly the last person they would think of. I never took formal art courses and had not painted anything before this year. Truth be told, my dream as a child was to become a scientist or a journalist, a dream inspired by my early exposure to National Geographics magazines that my dad used to collect. I also wished to travel around the world.
When this pandemic hit, first thing I thought was that I have to do something productive so I don’t become loopy for being stuck at home. Being a Filipino in a country constantly ravaged by natural hazards, being stuck at home is nothing new to us. But, the worries that come with community quarantine and the potential of virus hitting everyone brings a totally different level of paranoia and anxiety – yes, it affected even us Pinoys who are known to be the happiest people on the planet.

When I decided to homeschool my kids, I knew art was going to be my weakness because I simply lacked the skills. They get piano lessons from a friend while I teach the STEM part. For HELE we do practical things such as cooking, recycling, and tending to our hydroponics. However, art was something that I admit I struggled with the first year of homeschooling. I was so tempted to teach my kids how to assemble jewelries but I was afraid that the pliers will hurt their little hands, or worse, poke their eyes out! I did, at some point, envy the parents who do art stuff with their kids.

beach painting
One of the landscapes I love to paint area that of the beach.

Desperate for reference material, I went through all of the books we bought from various book sales and found this one (photo below) by Usborne. I flipped through and found projects are quite easy to do for non-painter like me. This book kept us busy for a year and to be honest, I let the kids do the easiest projects, the ones that I wasn’t scared to try myself. Well you do know from my previous post about how I started my watercolor journey, I’ve implied that art wasn’t a love at first try. It took a pandemic, and a year of homeschooling, before I had the courage to hold a brush and paint away. I obviously judged myself thoroughly before I took the leap.

Art skills” at Usborne Children's Books
The Usborne Book of Art Skills that my son received as Christmas gift which became our art bible for one whole school year.

So there you have it. It took just this book to get me into watercolor painting but it wasn’t an instant love, so to speak. I enjoyed going through this book and I think I will hold onto it a while before I decide to give away to next fortunate kid (I do this a lot with my old books). I would say that the takeaways from this personal experience are to never judge one’s self; be brave to try new things; and to be teachable. Imagine if you just let your kids read and explore and see how things will unfold for them, how a book can pique their curiosity. Hey, it happened to me! 🙂

portrait of Sean Connery
This is my most recent painting, a portrait of Sean Connery in watercolor.

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