Watercolor Experiments

The tips of my fingers are stained violet and green, my right thumb is speckled with fuchsia, and there are turquoise streaks on my wrist. My hands now resemble my mother’s hands. Her godchildren used to inspect her fingernails at church, fascinated by the woman with pigmented digits. But genetically, I inherited my father’s hands. With these hands I am experimenting with a medium used by both parents—watercolors.

Below is a bird painted by my father, followed by flowers painted by my mother. As you can see, with endless hours of practice, each parent became quite skilled with these paints.


Bird by Jorma Meller


Flowers by Tiina Reed

The most vivid childhood memory I have of using watercolors involves a stuffed animal hospital where my stepbrother and I were the doctors. We mixed red with water to create blood samples for the test tubes my mom, a nurse, had smuggled from work for me. Said paints ended up staining the white table in our bedroom in Helsinki. I was sure it would wash off, but found out otherwise and ended up in some trouble with my father.

Now, as an adult, I am giving watercolors another try. (I bought a set for $5 at Michael’s. I love the fact that on my budget, where even $5 feel like a splurge, I can still buy  decent quality art supplies.) So far I’ve mainly used them for background papers. Below are some of the various techniques I have played with.


Watercolor Techniques (left to right): pencil eraser stamping, sponge painting, paper towel stamping, cellophane stamping, bubble wrap stamping, spray bottle of dry paper

At this point, I feel ambivalent. Watercolors are versatile and (in most cases) fairly easy to clean up, but I’m not sure I have the patience required for mastering the skills I want to develop. I’m thinking I’m more of an acrylic paint girl. (On a side note,the cuffs of my bathrobe sleeves are crusty with acrylic paint. They There is nothing neat and tidy when it comes to my creative experiments.)


Materials: watercolors and cardstock


Materials: watercolors, paint marker, fox stencil, tissue paper