I write, knit, make jewelry, and love spending the day behind my camera, snapping hundreds of photos.
But, I’ve always envied artists. I’ve spent many hours painting with acrylics, creating patterns in Illustrator and doodling in my art journal. And, while I enjoy all of those things and will continue to do them, none of them have felt like ‘my thing.’
For the past six years, I’ve been on the hunt for my medium. Because I enjoy making art so very much, I kept thinking that I just hadn’t found the right format because nothing clicked and felt completely natural.
Out of all of the options, watercolor was never on my list.
I thought I’d hate how unpredictable it is–how little control you have when painting with it. I avoided it, thinking that it was absolutely NOT my thing.
I don’t know why I finally decided to give it a go, but I told my mother-in-law that I wanted to learn how to paint with watercolors a little more than a year ago.
Since she’s an artist and taught art for many years, she gave me a lesson. I had fun that day, but it didn’t make me fall head over heels for watercolor. It became another medium that I enjoyed but didn’t adore to pieces.
I set aside the watercolors, not thinking much about it.
Months later, I checked out Yao Cheng’s Beginning Watercolor class on Creativebug and something stirred in me.
I realized that the more traditional watercolor painting I created with my mother-in-law might’ve been the disconnect. I also figured out that while the inexpensive watercolor cake palette I was using was financially a good choice, the watercolor paint itself would make a huge difference to my experience.
Because I’m an all or nothing person, I decided to invest about $500 in the best quality paints, brushes and paper. I had this tugging in my soul that told me I was making the right decision while my wallet screamed, “don’t do it.”
When I painted my way through the activities of Yao’s course, my happy meter exploded.
I finally feel like I’ve found my medium–the one that I get giddy over and sweeps me up and away for hours at a time.
I’m not a pro or watercolor artist by any means. And, I’m not trying to become a watercolor artist. Instead I’m using watercolor in areas of my business.
For example, I’m using many of my watercolor creations as the backdrop to workbook pages for my next CreativeLive course (eek! more details to come soon).
Throughout this process of trying to find my medium, I’ve learned quite a few things. Some of which might help you:
1) Play and experiment often.
You never know when you’re going to find your next passion.
2) Don’t dismiss things without giving them a try.
The thing you think you won’t like might be the thing you end up loving.
3) When creating your business, leave space for growth.
When I started Blacksburg Belle, I didn’t have a clue that it would include photography or watercolor or speaking engagements. I imagined business consulting and blogging. Thankfully, I didn’t box myself into a tiny casket with limited wiggle room. Although I don’t sell photographs or watercolor paintings (and I don’t think I ever will), I use them in my business. My photography is a big piece of my brand and I bet I’ll be saying the same thing about watercolor in a year or two.
4) Include all of you in your business.
So often I work with creatives who feel like they have to compartmentalize, leaving out parts of their personalities from their businesses. Your business becomes MORE unique when you put together more than one of your passions. I mean…I don’t know any other business consultant who has built her business around writing, teaching, photography and now watercolors. There might be another, but the more of ME I put into my business, the more unlike anything else it becomes.