Stop Worrying About Waste and be Generous With Yourself

Stop Worrying About Waste and be Generous With Yourself post image

Do you ever worry about spending too much money on your watercolor supplies, or about wasting these materials?

I ask because I often hear people say they want to commit to an art practice and develop as a watercolorist, but they’re reluctant to spend money on good materials like brushes, paint, and paper.

And if they already have good materials they’re afraid to use them because they don’t want to be wasteful. Here are a few examples.

‘I have three pads: one Bristol and one Arches. I also have a large sheet of 300 lb. watercolor paper, cut down into several smaller pieces. When I pick up one of my pads I know I have all these nice clean white sheets but I hesitate to draw, for fear of wasting this good paper’ –Dee

‘…I just hate to think I may waste my art supplies. I’ve learned to be a bit more generous with my paper after using not so good paper and ending up with work I really want to keep or sell and can’t because it’s on cheap paper.’ –Sherry

‘Sometimes when I’m sketching I think “Dude you are using cheap paper” your work will suffer because you have made the decision your art is not worthy of the “good stuff ” –Pat

‘I’ve bought a lot of art supplies lately and I’m excited. But now that I have these supplies I’m so afraid to waste them.’ — Carol

If this is something you can relate too, you’re clearly not alone. But If we look at this more closely it’s not only about a reluctance to spend money. It’s also a matter of confidence, or more precisely the lack of confidence, in oneself as an artist.

To use our financial resources wisely and not be wasteful is understandable. But here’s the deal: using quality brushes, pigments and paper for your watercolors is is an excellent investment, is essential to artistic growth, and increases the likelihood that you’ll produce good work.

Knowing how artist grade materials feel in the hand, how the brush holds water, how the paints mix, how the paper responds as color is brushed onto the surface, can only be known if it’s experienced a lot, and often.

There is nothing more wasteful than using inexpensive materials and producing work that is worthy of a lovely frame and a special corner of your living space only to realize that in a few short years the pigments of that cheap paint will fade and the paper will turn brittle and brown.

And when that happens what’s really been wasted is precious time, and just to save a little money.

You’re worth investing in yourself and I’d like to encourage you to get the good stuff and buy the best materials you can afford. And use them!

“Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style.” –Rebecca Solnit

Go ahead. Stretch a little. Be generous with yourself and invest in artist grade brushes, paint, and paper. You and your growth are a worthy investment and it will do a lot to boost your confidence as you walk the creative path as an artist who paints with watercolor.

PS: You might want to check out this blog post too… Give Yourself Permission to Use High-Quality Watercolor Paper

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Morelia Rodriguez February 16, 2019, 10:21 am

    I really love this article. The subject had been an issue for me for a long time. I firmly believe the point of using better materials now. It’s of instrumental essence to understand the importance of quality products. We need to do the research by asking other artists what they use. Their generosity and understanding will enlighten us. Gracias Leyla!!!

    • Leyla Torres February 17, 2019, 12:22 pm

      You are very welcome Morelia. Yes, that’s the secret, asking other artists and exploring in practice what works best for ourselves as we put on paper the visions we have in our hearts.

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