My Second Watercolor

6 Hours with Adobe Support and Dabbling in Watercolor Painting.

It’s been fairly quiet here on the Pink Glasses blog. What have I been up to? Well I had a minor outpatient surgery last week, a LEEP procedure. You probably don’t know what that is, so I’ll give you the quick version without getting into the TMI area. I’ve been having abnormal pap smears off and on for about 11 years indicating that I’m at risk for cervical cancer. Yikes, right? That C-word is a pretty heavy one isn’t it? Don’t be too concerned though, my doctor and I have watched these closely and have done multiple biopsies over the years to track the cellular changes. My last biopsy in January showed changes that moved me from the “low risk” category to the “high risk” category, so in a preventative measure, we decided to go in and attempt to remove these bad cells. Then they send out all the removed tissue to the lab to be evaluated to check it out further and see if we have taken enough out to reduce the risk. I’ll go back in a few weeks for results and a follow-up. As far as surgeries go, it was pretty quick but I’ve had to take it easy a bit while I recover.

So, what have I been doing with this down time? Surely not blogging! 😉 I did sit down to blog Sunday, but obviously I didn’t accomplish that. I did, however, spend about 6 hours becoming good friends with a representative from Adobe chat support instead. Let me tell you, that was stressful, but Adobe’s chat support is one of the best support desk’s I think I’ve ever encountered. Back in January I upgraded from CS6 to the Creative Cloud. It’s always exciting to get the latest and greatest right? I’ve done a handful of updates since the initial download and they have all been super quick and painless. Friday morning I hopped on my computer to pay a bill, noticed I had 3 updates for CC, so I go ahead and click update all, and go on with my business. I was online for a while, so I just assumed that these updates would also be super quick and would have been completed by the time I was done, so I didn’t check, and just shut my Macbook so it would sleep. So fast forward to Sunday night when I open up the Macbook ready to write a blog. Over the weekend the battery died, but hey, that happens when you don’t plug things in. I plugged it in and let it boot up, and then I notice that the Creative Cloud app still says I have 3 updates. Funny, I thought I did those. I click on over and see that the Dreamweaver update is only 75% complete and two others are waiting. I watched it for a bit and noticed nothing changed, and my heart sank. The whole app was froze. I couldn’t stop the download, I couldn’t do anything. At this point I knew I was in trouble. I logged out, and logged back in, and then it did not show ANY of my apps that I had installed. Opened Illustrator thinking opening one of the apps might fix things. Nope. I decided to uninstall the Creative Cloud desktop app and try to reinstall it thinking that might help. I let the uninstaller run for two hours, and nothing was happening. I went to the Adobe website and it still showed my subscription, so I tried to download an app, to see what would happen, and it took me to the purchase plan page. I pretty much had a little panic attack at this point, but once I calmed down, I got in touch with Adobe’s chat support and they were wonderful. We had to completely remove all Adobe products from my Macbook and do a clean install, but that was probably for the better, I still had CS5.5 and CS6 on there just taking up space.

I probably have a weird emotional attachment to my programs haha. I always say I’ll delete the old one once I’m sure the new one works without issue, and then never go back to delete it telling myself it’s a back-up in case something happens. I know, that’s not healthy for my hard drive, but hey I had plenty of space still so what’s the big deal right? My husband is a computer electronics technician, I should, and do, know better. I have many bad technology habits he likes to shake his finger at me for, but we won’t get into that today. =) Well, now at least I have everything working correctly again, have learned to babysit my CC updates, and my hard drive has a bit more breathing room.

I’ve also taken up a new hobby! My start in the creative field did not come from an interest in the Fine Arts. I actually have very limited experience in physical art. I jumped right into digital art after watching an “ex” go to school for website design and realizing I had a better eye for design than he did. Not having a fine art background has presented itself with challenges along the way, like learning about sketching and shading, but I’ve been able to learn and adapt alright. Now that I’m finished with both degree’s though, I’m inspired to explore the fine arts a bit more. I know that these skills will help my design abilities. I still have a long way to go with sketching and drawing, but I’ve been so inspired by the look of watercolor art lately that I’ve wanted to try my hand at it. If I get decent at it, I’d like to incorporate parts of my paintings into my designs, but one thing at a time. After my surgery while I was still nice a numb, my wonderful husband took me to Michael’s to pick out some beginner watercolor supplies. I didn’t want to buy anything too expensive because I didn’t know if I would enjoy painting or not, but I grabbed some watercolor paper, brushes, and tubes of paint and was ready to go for under $15.

My First Watercolor Supplies

My First Watercolor Supplies – Tubes of Watercolor Paint, Brushes, a Pallet, and Paper.

I’ve done two paintings so far, neither of which are great but I am learning lots. For instance, that I shouldn’t have bought the cheapest paper. I bought the lightest weight and thus cheapest paper, I think it’s 90 or 98 lbs. which is the minimum I read online that is recommended for watercolor.  I should have spent a little extra and gone for the nice thick stuff though, once this stuff gets wet, no amount of tape is keeping it from becoming wavy. At least I bought a small pack, only 10 sheets, so next time I can upgrade. I’ve also learned that cheap brushes shed, a lot. You’ll notice that in both the backgrounds there are lots of brush hairs. I could have picked them out, but I’m pretty unimpressed with them, so I just didn’t bother.

Remember I said my sketching skills still leave much to be desired, and I only spent a few minutes sketching, I just was too excited to get down to painting. My first attempt was a hummingbird. I didn’t plan this painting at all, so after I was finished with the bird, I attempted some sort of flower. I didn’t sketch that, I just messed around and tried something. The bird came out, alright I guess. Not very watercolor-y though, too much paint, not enough water. I got a bit better with the flower. The background just failed miserably though.

my first watercolor

My First Watercolor – Hummingbird, flower, and a really bad background.

I didn’t have nearly enough water down for the yellow in the background, and far too much down for the blue.

After this I went to YouTube and watched some people paint, talk about techniques for beginners, and watch someone draw a Peony. The next day, I took another stab at it. I can see some improvement, but the background still failed miserably and I think I’m still a bit heavy with the paint in my paint/water mixture. I’ve also learned that lots of people seem to prefer pans vs tubes. I wasn’t sure what to buy, and stood in the aisle at Michael’s for a good 15 minutes debating. I’m finding the tubes to be a bit harder to mix than I anticipated. I’ll use up what I bought, but if I keep this hobby up, I think I’ll get pans next time. I also have not been pre-mixing my paint, which seems to be another beginner’s mistake. My flower didn’t turn out too badly, it definitely helped me to watch someone else sketch the Peony as well, but I’ve still got a long way to go before anything is frame worthy.

My Second Watercolor

Round Two – Peony

That wasn’t too bad at all, but then I added the background. Ah well, at least it’s fun and I’m learning!

Peony - My Second Watercolor 2

Round Two – Peony and another pretty bad background.

I think the last thing I’ve learned from these two attempts, is that I probably should put my work surface on a bit of an incline. For both of these, I worked completely flat, on the coffee table.

Thanks for taking the time to read the Pink Glasses blog! Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe if you enjoyed it (or even if you didn’t, I like constructive criticism too!)



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