To celebrate the magic of spring and floral beauty, a group of top teachers on Skillshare teamed up to run this year’s #bringspring challenge. This was my first time joining this challenge, and I can confirm that it was the best decision I could make. Now that it’s over, I’m still under its influence, still excited about it. It was an experience that definitely touched me personally and artistically.
Before jumping into the middle, I need to tell a few things about the challenges in general. I have mixed feelings regarding them. There are so many challenges with great topics that are tempting, but usually I simply can’t allocate time for them. Because I only do art part-time, I have a limited amount of time throughout the day to hone my skills. Usually, I have my own ideas and projects I’m working on, therefore, I never run out of art topics. In most cases, I can see upfront that I can’t meet the deadline of the challenge. The time constraint would stress me, which wouldn’t benefit my creativity and art. This time I had the whole month of May ahead to create 10 artworks, which seemed plenty, so I jumped right in.
I decided to participate in the #bringspring challenge because it celebrates this magical time of the year. Recently I’ve been hooked on plants and nature, and the challenge’s prompts seemed perfect to explore further this magical world. The hosts, Ohn Mar Win, Julia Henze, Anna Sokolova, Jen Dixon, and Marie-Noelle, created a unique atmosphere for the challenge on Instagram, kindly encouraging the participants, sharing their artwork, and writing lovely comments. Seeing the artworks of other participants and the myriad styles they tackled in the same prompts was interesting. I could feel the enthusiasm of this spring-lover community.
When I decided to join the challenge, I added to it some personal challenges as well:
- I will not use ink marks at all. Usually, I sketch with ink first, but now I wanted to try out how it feels without it. (it feels weird, but I can handle it)
- I will paint only using my new watercolour set from Holbein. It has different colours than to what I’m used to, and I wanted to get familiar with them, to explore how they behave individually and how they mix with each other.
- I will include pink shades in every creation. I didn’t use this colour in the past, but now I felt that it conveys the spring feeling I would like to transmit through my art exceptionally well.
- I will use masking fluid whenever needed to learn how to use it properly.
I started by creating a Pinterest board and adding reference photos for each topic. That time I didn’t exactly know what I would like to paint, I just gathered some random inspiration. Then I created 10 rectangles in my sketchbook for the thumbnail images. Whenever I had a clear vision of what I would like to paint in case of a topic, I just created a quick thumbnail sketch. That helped enormously to roll the ball further to the actual painting. Sometimes I changed my mind regarding a topic because I realised I wanted to draw something that I can not easily relate to. So here are my final artworks:
Some things I learnt:
- It’s ok to let an artwork sit for a few days after finishing it. I can see it from a different perspective later on, and address the little mistakes easier.
- I went beyond my limits in terms of using watercolour. I never thought I could use watercolour without ink sketches. I experimented with layering and values, which helped enormously to improve my artistic skills.
- I combined watercolour with coloured pencils and gouache, which worked fine together. Salt and masking fluid are great when we know where and how to use them.
- The creativity flows if you let it run wild. Only stick to a topic if it feels right.
I enjoyed creating, being involved, and discovering other amazing artworks. It was challenging in a good way. I learned a lot, not just about art, but about myself as well. Thanks to everybody for the lovely comments and messages. It was an incredible month filled with art and spring.