I've been playing with my new paints this week and feeling like a little kid! I love to blend and splatter my watercolors with abandon, letting the paints do what they want and take on a life of their own. When I'm painting like this, I usually don't have a plan for what exactly the piece will become. Sometimes I have a bit of an idea, but I try not to impose that idea upon the paint too much because I love when a piece feels spontaneous and when the images I come up with later emerge from the initial watercolor wash almost as if they were always there.
My favorite colors to paint with are rusty siennas, mossy greens and jewel blues--I like to mix them to create a variety of turquoise and robin's-egg-blue tones. I love all different colors, but blues and greens with a bit of rust or gold mixed in make me so happy! Sometimes I to give myself a little nudge to paint in a different color family.
But I have found that painting with abandon and seeking spontaneity are, for me, disciplines in themselves. I love watching the watercolors run and mix, and I just can't wait for the painting to dry, because I never know exactly what it will look like. The less I try to control what happens with the paint, the more beautiful it looks when it's dry. When I try to make something special happen, the finished wash usually looks overworked and lacks all of those special little "moments" that make a watercolor piece so special. It is the discipline of waiting, and the challenge of letting go, that produce a work with a satisfying balance of character and lightheartedness.