Pretty Vintage Birdcage with Flowers

So why shouldn’t you fall in love with your art? Well, that’s not what I mean! Someone said to me once – or maybe I read it – I suspect it might have been Ron Ranson or Roland Hilder – that it is risky to become attached to a small section of your painting while it is still in progress.

You know how it is. You have a happy accident. Something just looks right, in watercolor this is often a happenstance blending of colours. You begin to structure the rest of the painting around that happy accident. And then you find yourself being held back by that very happy accident. Somehow nothing else works.

At this point, you have to be brave. Paint over it. Free yourself to moving on.

While I’m at it, talking about Ron Ranson and Roland Hilder, both well-known British artists who influenced me a lot, I would like to recommend the two books I have linked to their names above. “Big Brush Watercolor” by Ron is a breath of fresh air – as it was when it was written – sharing his own story and his down-to-earth advice on how to be a better painter. He influenced me a lot and I’m grateful to him. “Starting with Watercolor” is similarly helpful and influential on me. I still read and refer to these two books frequently in my studio, especially when I’m feeling uninspired. I don’t paint pictures like Ron or Roland did, but I like to think I paint with similar spirit.


I hope you enjoy trying this painting. I used a sheet of Etchr watercolor paper, size A4 or about letter size. This is cellulose paper which for this style of painting is perfectly good enough – but if you prefer to use 100% cotton paper, that’s great. I chose to work with the Kuretake Art Nouveau set of paints but any paints will do! You can find links to all the materials I use here.


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