A. B. from Chicago, Illinois asked, "I've been learning to use watercolors, but I can’t make them do what I want. Any suggestions?"

Dear A,

Usually when you try to force some result, it will look forced as well. First learn the characteristics of the medium you are using and then figure out how to use those characteristics to create the feeling, emotion or artistic result you’re looking for.

In teaching a class on creating with weeping willow branches, a student asked if it was possible to make a specific shape? Well, yes it is but it probably won’t be done in the traditional way a heart is made or the branch will break. A branch that has 2 secondary limbs could be bent in opposite directions to create a heart. Or, you can begin with two branches and bend them in opposite directions to make the heart. Either way, you must follow the nature of the medium and let it flow rather than forcing it to happen.

In other words…know your medium. Take those watercolors and practice various methods…dry paint (not really dry, but less water than usual) on dry paper or dry paint on wet paper or wet paint on dry paper or wet paint on wet paper. Each will give you a slightly different look. Once you learn how the paint and paper will react, you will know how to use them to let the creativity flow rather than force a result.

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

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