I am new to the world of blogging. I know, I know, blogs have been around forever (well, not really… not even close), but not until now have I availed myself of their bloggy goodness. So, what am I doing with this blog? About a year and a half ago I started out on a journey to learn how to paint, in watercolor to be specific. I had read a book about travel sketchbooking written by a friend’s mom and I got the painting bug (Sketchbooking: How to Create a Delightful Journal of Your Travels at Home or Abroadby Barbara M. Stecher).

Said painting bug has bitten me a few times in the past, but I was never fully infected and it fizzled out after a few pathetic attempts at pushing drugstore watercolor paints around on a piece of non-watercolor paper. I don’t recommend beginning that way. Cheap paints on cheap paper do little more than create cheap-looking, ill-defined blobs of color (more like mud in my case).

Mudblob #1

Mudblob #2

So I tried the same thing again late in 2010. I bought a bottom-of-the-line set of paints (the kind you might remember from 2nd grade) and took it with me on business trips. That fall I tried my hand at documenting what I could see from my hotel room instead of defaulting to turning on the TV or reading a novel.

View from the Hampton Inn (Niagara Falls)

View from the lovely Holiday Inn (Ontario)

I started searching YouTube for painting instruction videos and was sucked into watching video after video. It reminded me of summers at my grandparents house watching hours of Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting shows (have you seen the Bob Ross autotune video?). My grandparents had cable. We didn’t. We lived behind a radio tower and had terrible reception. Bob could be painting a happy little lake in the summer surrounded by happy trees and canopied by happy clouds, and all it looked like on our TV was a driving blizzard.

Anyway, the painting progressed very slowly that fall. Then my wife and I planned a vacation to Hawaii. I decided to invest in a miniature watercolor kit and a high quality watercolor journal. I wasn’t quite sure how I would fill the pages (more mudblobs? — “Look, there’s us snorkeling in a mudblob,” “And here we are at a mudblob luau,” “And look at the beautiful mudblob sunset…”) but Stecher’s sketchbooking book was inspiring, and I was ready to take a new stab at watercolors.

I figured if I was serious about this sticking, I needed gear. One always needs gear when one gets serious about a hobby. It’s even fun to go out and buy gear when one gets serious about thinking about a new hobby. So, MyFirstPaintingKit (maybe if I put a .com after that, I could get rich) consisted of:

  • Winsor & Newton travel watercolor kit
  • Moleskine watercolor journal
  • a couple of brushes from Michaels (a #10 and #3 round)
  • a #2B pencil
  • a rubber eraser
  • a Sharpie pen
  • a bag from EMS (which I called my man-purse)
  • an empty vitamin container for transporting water
  • 2 small open containers for putting the water in
  • a travel pack of kleenex

With travel kit in hand, I was ready to embark on my new painting hobby. And thus the title of this blog: Can I Learn to Paint?