Day 3 of the 5 Day Art Challenge

Day 3… The classical academy years part 2… watercolor… that I sometimes wish I could wash away!

Watercolor… I love it and I hate it! To me it’s one of the hardest mediums to master. I took beginning, experimental, and landscape watercolor painting at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. Amazing teachers that seemed to just swim in the watercolor. Where I just seemed to swim in water-mud. I pretty much bombed all but the experimental watercolor class. In fact, I was told by one of the teachers, “I don’t think watercolor is for you.” I agree and disagree with that statement…

Me + watercolor and realism = no.

Me + watercolor and experimental play and mixed media = yes, yes and YES!!!

Those classes challenged me to the moon. I went home crying many a day after many a watercolor class. But I am all the more stronger of an artist for taking those classes. It’s good to be pushed and challenged out of your current skill set. It’s the way we grow and blossom into better creators and people.

Believe it or not, I threw away a ton of my “bad” watercolors. Or I painted over them with gesso to reuse. Which is totally reasonable, but I still wish I would have kept more of them. ‘Cause they are a part of my history and progress. Oh well. Watercolor under the bridge…right!

I’ll show you some of the ones I kept. It’s so funny, ’cause I really didn’t like most of them at the time of their creation and now I really like and appreciate them.

The still life… I loathed still life painting. Like I said in the post for Day 1, I wanted to abstract and simplify everything! But doing a still life is so good for you. It really trains you to see and to translate what you see.

Rachel Fontenot - watercolor - painting - art

Rachel Fontenot - Yellow Apple - watercolor - painting - art

Rachel Fontenot - Still Life - watercolor - painting - art

Rachel Fontenot - watercolor - painting - art

I did enjoy and still do enjoy drawing and painting nature. Especially branches and leaves.

Rachel Fontenot - Laeves - watercolor -painting - art

Rachel Fontenot - Leaves - watercolor - painting - art

Then came landscape painting. This is the only “landscape” worth showing. It happened out of total frustration. We were on location and I was trying to paint a cypress tree. Fighting the paint the whole time, I went through 5 sheets of watercolor paper with no success. Then I pulled out a postcard size watercolor block and just let loose with color and painted this little tree. It’s my favorite watercolor.

Rachel Fontenot - Tree - watercolor - painting - art

I was beginning to really hate watercolors and was about to give up. I decided to give it one last try by taking experimental watercolor. That’s when I fell in love! Using watercolors in a free and loose ‘anything goes’ way is totally for me! It’s freedom that I needed. And I needed to be free to be abstract. I love and appreciate representational art, I just don’t like to do it. And I also like the freedom of thought that abstract work allows. So I decided to keep watercolor in my paint box after being experimental with it.

I sold most of my experimental pieces ages ago. I only wish I had taken photos of the work before I sold it. But alas, it was before the digital age and I wasn’t into photography or cataloging my work at the time. So, I only have two examples to show.



How do you feel about watercolor? Do you love it, hate it, or both? I think I’m still both!

Up next… Color and Design with the love of my life… gouache!!!

Happy… or maybe not so happy… watercoloring!


About Rachel Crawford

Hi y'all! I'm Rachel Crawford, an artist, poet and surface designer who is passionate about color and pattern, poetry, the great outdoors and art history. I also love to crochet and knit, and free hand embroider. All of which you will find on this blog! My artwork and patterns are happy, peaceful and full of color as are all the things my happy hands find to create. I'm a native of the colorful and eclectic city of New Orleans where I currently live with my wonderful hubby of 25+ years marriage. Welcome!
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2 Responses to Day 3 of the 5 Day Art Challenge

  1. Peggy says:

    Rachel, these watercolor pieces may have challenged you, but I love them – the very simplicity that comes out as you learned about this challenging medium is exactly what appeals to me. Its a little tentative, a little careful – but the clarity and your eye for placement and color still shine through strongly. Thanks for sharing these.

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