Stop Before you Finish!

Watercolour Studies

Our excellent watercolours teacher Elisabeth keeps saying: “stop ten minutes before you think you’re finished.” It’s become kind of a joke because how do you know when that moment comes? The point is to not overwork things. With watercolours, you want to let the white of the paper show through, and to put down the paint in as few strokes as possible to keep the transparency of the colour. Case in point: my homework which I started Sunday evening sitting on my balcony. By the time I stopped, it was dark and I hadn’t finished the details, shading and contours. Today the teacher said it was very good. She likes things that are a bit quirky and so do I. I worked on it tonight after taking this picture. I really should have stopped earlier. The final piece is a reminder that leaving things out is just as important as putting things in.

Watercolour & photo by Smiler



  1. rlbourges

    I know that pitcher! (you gave it just the right quirky twist, too);

    • Yes, it’s likely to come up more than once—I’ve been wanting to use it in various projects for a long time and I have every intention of starting over that particular watercolour soon, and I’ll probably use it for my drawing class drawing; a still life of our choosing. By the way, I’ll publish pics of those bowls so you can pick one. xx

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