PAINTING WITH WATERCOLORS AND SHARING IMPERFECT WORK

Creating and trying new things is messy and imperfect and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error. It’s easy to forget that because we see so many images that are at the final advanced stages but not the bumpy beginnings.

I’ve been playing around with different mediums lately and thought the perfect way to push myself when it comes to watercolors was to join this month’s Paint With Me Challenge!

The PWMC is a free watercolor challenge hosted by my friend and talented artist, Susan. Each month, Susan shares a reference photo to paint as well as video of her painting it. I found it so helpful to watch her and the techniques she used! Whether you are just starting out or have been painting for awhile, I highly recommend joining in and painting something every month! You can learn more and sign up here. (If you want to delve in deeper, take a look at Susan’s Paint With Me Community!)

There is a lot I want to fix / do over, the paint that seeped through the tape is driving me nuts along with the tape not really coming off the paper, but in the spirit of embracing the process and humble beginnings and messiness, I still wanted to share it! I’m also trying to find the things I do like and give myself credit for trying! (We painted a cropped version of this photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels.)

☁️ I love looking at clouds and have always wanted to paint them so even though this didn’t turn out exactly the way I envisioned it, I’m really glad to have tried! I hope to continue this process of trying and keep getting better at it, step by step!


7 DAY SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE | DAY 7

This piece is part of my 7 day sketchbook challenge–learn more about it in this post!

Self portrait, 4/5 years old & 36 years old.

Ever since I found this self portrait I drew back in Kindergarten, I have taken it with me into every workspace I’ve moved into and worked in. It seems like the perfect reminder to myself of where I began, of where this all started.

Plus, this drawing cracks me up! I love all the wobbly and uneven shapes, my t-shirt (it’s a giraffe’s face, pretty sure it’s Geoffrey from Toys R Us possibly wearing a bow or goggles?), and my socks with ruffles on them. 😂

I have always loved children’s artwork because there is such joy, whimsy, freedom, and magic in them! I look at how I started drawing the circle for my head with a marker, but as I got to the bottom, it must have been a bit of a struggle because it ended up lopsided lol To the younger version of me, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t erase or fix it or that it was imperfect, I just kept going, crooked lines, incorrect proportions, and all! There is a big lesson in that, especially for someone who can get pretty obsessed with having things turn out “perfectly”. At some point, things changed but I hope that going forward, I can use this kindergarten self portrait as a way to remind myself of the beauty in imperfections, going for it, and letting go.

For the now version of my self portrait, I decided to give pencil drawing a shot. I rarely sketch these days and I almost never draw life like faces but I decided to go for it, just as I am sure 4 year old Olivia would have done without hesitation! I took a selfie and used that to draw from–I don’t think I’ve stared at my own face for that long before lol. I’m not sure how accurate it came out but I think it’s close enough and most importantly, it was fun to try and get lost in drawing! I added acrylic paint to the other side of the page and for me, those strokes represent all the things I have created in the past and what I will create in the future. It felt very fitting to wrap up this childhood inspired challenge with this particular exercise.

When I decided I was going to do this, I didn’t intend for my theme and inspiration to be my childhood–it naturally happened this way and I ended up really immersing myself in it and enjoying it! It was actually very therapeutic and healing for me to revisit happy memories and things I haven’t thought of for so long!

This mini challenge also reminds me of how when we show up and take one action, it snowballs and leads you to something else which then leads you to the next thing and so on… I mentioned in a previous post that there was a day I was feeling like I wouldn’t have time to do my page but I am so glad I kept this promise to myself and completed the 7 days without any breaks! There is so much value in consistency, even in small doses, and showing up for yourself.

If there’s something you’ve been thinking about doing more of, I hope you will try a 7 day challenge of your own and see what happens next :)

PS: If you’d like to do the challenge but aren’t sure what theme or prompts to use, here are the prompts I ended up using for my theme of childhood inspirations in case you’d like to try them out! I think they would translate well especially if your craft is in visual arts or the written word. (If you click on the links below, you can see what I did for that prompt.)

Day 1 – Crayons

Day 2 – Collage

Day 3 – Rainbow

Day 4 – Thread

Day 5 – Finger painting

Day 6 – Upside down

Day 7 – Self portrait


7 DAY SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE | DAY 6

This piece is part of my 7 day sketchbook challenge–learn more about it in this post!

Round Trip by Ann Jonas is a book I discovered around the time I was in second grade. I have a vague memory that I learned of it through Reading Rainbow, but I don’t know how accurate that is…I watched a ton of Reading Rainbow during that time in my life lol.

As an adult, I love this book as much as I did back when I was a kid! What’s so magical about it? Well you read the book as you normally would but when you get to the last page, it tells you to turn it upside down and there’s another story to read as you flip back through the pages! I love how creative and clever it is! I also really like the visuals and the black and white modern minimalistic illustrations.

Today’s page was inspired by this book and I realized exactly how hard it is to make an image work both ways! 😅 My attempt includes line drawing of leaves–when you turn it upside down, it’s a dress 🍂👗

I made a short video of this page along with a flip through of the book! Click here to watch


7 DAY SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE | DAY 5

This piece is part of my 7 day sketchbook challenge–learn more about it in this post!

Say the words “finger painting” and it automatically takes me back to my childhood!

I decided to play with primaries and paint for day 5 of this sketchbook challenge, inspired by allllll the finger painting I did when I was a kid! :)

It always feels so calming and meditative to work on each page and I loved feeling the paint on my fingers, the texture of the paper, not focusing on the result, and just getting messy! When’s the last time you worked with your hands and made a mess?

I had a really packed day and there was a point when I thought, I don’t know if I have time to do my sketchbook! But the whole point of this mini challenge is to prioritize something I love and to show up consistently—and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it and kept this challenge going without any breaks! When I look back, I might have thought I didn’t have time but in reality, it was not that hard to find 15 minutes to do this! I just had to make the decision and follow through.


7 DAY SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE | DAY 4

This piece is part of my 7 day sketchbook challenge–learn more about it in this post!

I realized today that when I was punching holes for day 3, the next page was stuck to it and ended up getting punched too! After I considered tearing the page out, I decided to go with it instead. I really liked how this geometric embroidered page turned out with the gold thread!

Getting out the needle and thread reminds me of going through my mom’s sewing box when I was little. I loved seeing the different colored threads, buttons, scraps of fabric, and sorting though them. I thought it was pretty amazing we could sew and make things ourselves!

She also bought a book that had patterns for doll clothes in it. My favorite design was a 1-sleeve white and gold evening gown for Barbie–it’s funny this sketchbook page actually looks like it can be inspired from it! Maybe I was subconsciously conjuring up that dress in my mind :)

I came across this doll clothes book a few years ago and happened to take a pic of the page! Which dress do you like best?


7 DAY SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE | DAY 3

This piece is part of my 7 day sketchbook challenge–learn more about it in this post!

I finished day 3 around 11:45PM, just in time for the cut off! 😅

I had been testing some mediums on a swatch of paper earlier in the day and really liked how that swatch ended up looking. It got me thinking about all the different markers, pens, paints, crayons, and thread I have and inspired me to swatch all the colors of the rainbow for today’s page! 🌈 I really like seeing the different shades (especially in the watercolors) and textures. Although I typically work in black and white, it was fun changing things up and using color today!