I come from a family of artists, and therefore learned how to use watercolor paints properly when I was seven. My grandmother brought her fancy paints – the ones that come in tubes and you can trade out on a tray of your own – and taught me how to look at the world around me and notice the details. I remember her pointing to the house next to ours and asking, “What color are the windows?” and I thought about it for a moment and replied, “Blue, but sort of purple?” and she said, “Yes, most windows actually have purple and green in them, even though most people think of them as just blue.”
I’ve stopped using watercolor paints as much now because I don’t have access to it at school and my grandmother hasn’t taken them out since she moved. Instead, I usually use acrylic and figure out different ways of mixing or creating consistencies. Brushstrokes show up much more with acrylic paint than watercolor, which was something it took a while to get used to: I had to move my brush more intentionally and carefully.
To me, there’s something incredibly relaxing about having a brush in my hand, paint on a palette, music for my ears alone, and no thoughts but those of what color I should use next or how a certain brushstroke will affect the painting. There’s a certain excitement when I have an idea for a painting, and a certain contentment when I finish something with which I’m happy.
I know I’ll never be a Rembrandt or a van Gogh or an O’Keeffe, but I’m okay with that. Painting are something I need to get out of my head and into physical being, and I don’t put enough effort on it to for me to ever become truly great, but I’m okay with that because I don’t need that. I just need to be make me happy, and make me happy it does.