30×30 direct watercolour challenge – week one

I’ve been participating in Marc Taro Holmes’ 30×30 direct watercolour challenge. This a round-up of the paintings I did in the first seven days.

I started with a few pictures based on or inspired by pictures from my family’s cottage, but I also did a number of abstract style paintings. I’ve had a several days where I’ve completed more than one painting, so there’s more than 7. You can see them and, where applicable, the reference photos on Instagram.

I should note that I have no training in watercolours. So, while some of the paintings are surprisingly good (to me, anyway), I’m using this challenge as a means of learning, practising, and playing with watercolours.

1. The tail end of a sunset in the winter

This challenge started on a high note. While not perfect, I’m really pleased with this painting.

2. The silhouette of grasses with the early evening sky as a backdrop

To be honest, I just wanted to try the clouds I did in the first painting again.

3. The reef at the beach on an overcast day

So far, this is my favourite painting. I love it, love it, love it. I’m so proud of this painting. It’s a sandbar (bottom) and reef (which partially emerges when the tide is low).

4. (a) Pyramids (abstract) and (b) river running through a forest (abstract)

The pyramid started as a completely different idea, but a mistake ruined that plan. I happened to be watching a The Nature of Things episode about pyramids (video), so I changed my plans. The second painting was just an excuse to play with colours and salt (that’s how you get that cool effect).

5. Seaweed and stone

All those little pebbles? They took more patience than I had that day. But, I’m really glad that I persevered because the final piece is exactly what I’d expect to find in between the sandbars at my family’s cottage.

6. Water and sandbar (abstract)Water and sandbar (abstract)

I did this painting as an exercise in colour blocking after watching a video about the colour field art technique by ARTiculations (video).

7. Tulips

Tulips. Bright yellow, delightful tulips. This painting was a bit of a fail (it’s fine, but not what I was hoping for), but it’s still nice. It’s also the first of my paintings done with the Wanderlust Watercolour mixables palette, which has become my primary paints for this challenge.


I’ve been enjoying the challenge, especially because I allowed myself a lot of freedom with regards to subjects, techniques, and sharing paintings that aren’t “perfect” (I struggle with accepting imperfect art, which is a big part of why I quite making art for a very long time ).




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