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Getting Started & Knowing What To Paint

Sometimes I get so frustrated with my paintings. I feel like whatever I am trying to paint, just isn’t coming out right.

That’s when I return to painting in my little sketchbook with watercolors.

That takes the uneasiness out of creating. I find I am not so afraid to make a mistake or paint something “ugly” when I am just creating in my sketchbook. It’s one of the reasons I started painting on unconventional surfaces like cardboard, book pages and maps. It all seems less intimidating.

I also always keep a small stash of my supplies ready to go in my kitchen– a plastic cup filled with water and two brushes, my travel set of watercolors, two water soluble oil pastels, a stabilo pencil and a hot pink and white sharpie paint pen. Aside from the brushes and water cup, it all fits inside the lid of the watercolors, so it’s easy to grab and go with my sketchbook.

That way, I have no excuses not to paint.

On these pages, I uncover new characters and find new art supply combinations that I love.

I don’t start out knowing what to paint.

I begin the same way I start any of my paintings and cover up the white space (usually for these with a few quick brush washes of watercolors). That is my loosening up.

Then I make two blotches for eyes… either with pencil or using my fingers with watercolors. And from there my character develops.

To me, it’s not so much about getting out a character I see in my head. But deciding in the moment what colors and supplies to use, what embellishments to give my character to make it feel right. Maybe I will add fox ears or bear ears or keep things simple and light.

These are the choices that help me express the vision I feel inside my heart. From there, my creativity can flow.

Happy painting!

Juliette Crane


Ps. If you’d like to get over creative blocks, my Serendipity 2 online class begins in just a few weeks on Sept 15, 2014. Read a blog post from the lovely Jill Holmes about her experience as a new student.

PPs. If you’re looking for more ideas of what to paint, watch a few free videos here.


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