Watercolor Hare by FlowArte

New Watercolor Work

Back in February I decided to take a break from FlowArte and watercolor. Being self-taught, finding a style has been quite difficult. I love it all! I love pencil, crayons, ink, collage etc. So I went on a tangent and gave free reign to whatever rocked my boat. I got an iPad Pro which helped me practice a lot without the nagging feeling of “ruining and wasting materials”. It allowed me to work on many different styles and hone in to what I like most.

I really did give myself a lot of freedom to not pursue “one thing”. I stopped posting on my FlowArte Instagram and opened a new one, under my name. At first I kept it private and then I opened it up but it remained very small.

Then one day I realized that what was happening: I wanted to pursue personal work but I was expecting it to provide with an income and so I oscillated between painting things that I knew were a bit more commercial and things that only meant something to me. Let’s face it, I’m not a household name so peddling my art was like talking to a forest.

At first I thought I’d shut down FlowArte, but I felt a lot of resistance. Watercolor is truly a passion of mine but watercolor doesn’t work for some of the things that I want to create as my personal art practice So I converted FlowArte into a watercolor studio.

The practice during the last few months has paid off, I’m more confident in my drawing and I have taken a couple of classes to move away from my puritanical view in which I resisted mixed media. I always thought of mixed media as those super chaotic sketchbooks with vibrant colors and stuff pasted on to them, but I realized that, hey, one can use everything and it won’t look like a mess.

Nature

In particular animals have been on my mind. Last year I stopped eating animals for good. It has become super important to me. I don’t label myself as vegan (I don’t label myself as anything really… ) but I have made important changes in the way I shop, I buy products that don’t test on animals and do not buy products with leather or fur. I also remembered the number of animals that have been part of my life. How I never shied away from taking care of them (when they gave birth, after getting hurt, giving them medication, cleaning after them) I realized that my love for them is profound and not just a simple “like”. I started drawing them more and more.

Watercolor Rabbit by FlowArte

Portraits

The first time I attempted a portrait should have discouraged me forever. I tried to paint Vivienne Westwood. I most likely still have that disastrous thing somewhere to remind me that practice does wonders. I paint my heroes, mostly writers and artists. Usually people whose work I refer to often. Here below Camille Claudel.

Camille Claudel Watercolor Portrait by Luisa Nino

And so, as the summer arrives I’m working on creating new pieces. I’m also looking for animal sanctuaries to visit and see if I can paint on location and continue creating more new watercolor work.

Note to fellow artists

It’s so hard to accept that each one of us has a different rhythm. We see how fast other people seem to advance in their careers and we feel left behind. March, April and May were truly dark months. I felt close to giving up because I could not focus. But allowing myself to just practice, play, explore, draw on the iPad without prejudice, has helped me understand my own pace. It will take as long as it will

Now I have decided to create a clear division for my work.

Watercolor will live here FlowArte and my personal practice will live in my publication: Recipes for feeling more and under my name here. My personal practice involves a lot of writing and it was also a problem to reconcile what I wanted to write about and what FlowArte represented. So I moved that part.

My goal is to produce more new watercolor work than in previous years choosing a limited number of subjects and refining my color palette. You can expect more process posts, prints and soon open commissions.

In the meantime, there are original works for sale in my Etsy shop.

Have you had to pivot an important project?

  1. “I always thought of mixed media as those super chaotic sketchbooks with vibrant colors and stuff pasted on to them, but I realized that, hey, one can use everything and it won’t look like a mess.”

    I’m so glad you’ve made this discovery. It really is hard to find mixed media art online that isn’t collage and stencils and stamps… But that’s not all it is. For me, mixed media works in quite a neat way. I choose the best tool for the job. Sometimes a drawing will be pure ink, sometimes there will be watercolor, and at other times I’ll add colored pencils, crayons, charcoal, acrylics… And it’s still the same style of expression, but it allows for a more accurate portrayal of your vision.

    • Luisa Fernanda

      Yes! it’s only taken me five years to realize this! But now I know that I can combine things in subtle ways and add wonderful character to my drawings.

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