It's been a loooo-ng time since I've done anything with watercolor. I took a lot of art classes in middle school and high school, and it was one of my favorite mediums at the time – I loved playing with it! So much in fact that I created a huge picture of tulips using various watercolor techniques that my mom had framed and still hangs in her house today. When I see that picture, I have fond memories of watercolor and have always imagined that one day I'd pick it up again. Well, recently I got the chance.
Let me start from the beginning!
I was recently selected to be a Michaels Maker, which is pretty exciting – it's Michaels Stores team of 50 creative bloggers who have been assembled to “fuel your creativity” through various projects. And the program started last week with an amazing Michaels Makers Summit in Santa Rosa, California:
Doesn't it look absolutely amazing? Not only did the Michaels Makers get to enjoy beautiful scenery, but they also got to participate in four amazing classes (weaving, watercolor, paper flowers and image transfer) taught by Michaels education partner, Creativebug. Each of the classes are available online for FREE on Michaels.com until 8/22 (you can re-create one or all of the summit projects)!
Though I was bummed to miss the summit, I was very excited to try Creativebug classes. I've heard about them but never had a chance to experience them until now. As you can imagine based on the beginning of this blog post, I tried Beginning Watercolor with acclaimed artist Yao Cheng!
So I purchased my supplies for class and I have to say, I was ready to rock. Watercolors are just so pretty, don't you think? I wasn't sure what to expect because I wasn't familiar with Yao's work, but man – she's truly amazing. I'll let you know my favorite part of her teaching method right away: she encourages experimentation. There's no “wrong” way to watercolor. The whole idea of her class is to learn but also have a great time doing it. So I did:
I experimented with all of the techniques in her videos and was having a blast. It was then that I remembered something I'd heard about before but had never tried myself: using Mod Podge as a watercolor resist. Have you heard of this? I feel like Yao's encouragement through the screen gave me the Podgeables to try it. So I busted out the watercolor pad, and one of my Mod Podge Rocks stencils. I smoothed the stencil down, and then I added Mod Podge Gloss to the stencil with a spouncer:
And then I peeled the stencil off immediately (and washed it), and was left with this drying on the watercolor paper:
Set this aside until it's completely dry.
Then it's time to play! I started with one of the first techniques Yao taught. I mixed a fun blue/green shade and added a vibrant swipe of watercolor at the top of my paper. Instead of dipping my brush in more paint, I dipped it in water and continued to paint down the page, so that the effect was more of an ombre. And you can see – the Mod Podge resists the watercolor, providing a unique design and texture to the page!
So then I did it with my key stencil and the bright blue . . . and I REALLY love how this one turned out. I even left some of the blue/green in the brush as Yao suggested to see what would happen. No judgements. And it turned out so cool!
So here are the results . . . .
So let's review. I took the Creativebug class. And I learned some cool techniques.
Now I think you should take the Creativebug class and try it!!
Before you go, I want you to pay a visit to some of the other 50 Michaels Makers . . . you can check out each of our blogs and bios here! Follow along throughout the year and feel free to create projects with us by sharing on Instagram using #MadeWithMichaels. If you want to learn what they made at the summit and learned, visit any or all of them at the linkup below!