THE FIRST TIME I FAILED AT WATERCOLOR… - courtneykibby.com

THE FIRST TIME I FAILED AT WATERCOLOR…

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September 23, 2021

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i'M COURTNEY KIBBY

This may sound like I’m making this up, but I assure you I am not.

Watercolor did not come naturally to me.

Painting didn’t really come naturally to me.

Sketching and drawing didn’t come naturally to me.

BUT I LOVE IT. 


And therefore, I was determined to make it work.  As long as I’ve been alive I’ve felt a creative spark in my soul, and knew there would be *something* creative I would be doing with my life. First, it was teaching, then it was motherhood, now it’s a combination of those and throw creative entrepreneurship in there and I feel like I’m covering like ¾ of the spectrum!


So, friend, here’s a good ol’ story about the first time I failed at watercolor.  Buckle up cause it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

THE PIN

If we’re being honest, I’d picked up watercolor paints maybe 1-3 times before I was an adult.  As a child in art class it was a paint that was just there, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite thing to use (spoiler alert: most teachers don’t teach you HOW).  As a high school student, I don’t even remember doing anything with watercolor — like, ever.  I’m sure we did, but it just isn’t memorable to me.


So, when in 2020 my hubby bought me a watercolor paint set for my 30th birthday after being in lock down for 60 days, I knew this was my ticket OUT — even if we were still stuck.  Let’s put a pin in that and return to it in a moment…

I FAILED.

Sooooo anyhoooo we’re going to travel to a time before that birthday, when I was running out of acrylic paints, in the midst of a COVID + Isolation-induced depression with constant panic attacks rising, and my in-laws kindly brought me all the palettes they had of watercolor paint.  We didn’t know it at the time (I had no idea) but it was kid’s watercolor, or student grade watercolor. 

via GIPHY

Truly my friend, ALL THE THINGS were going against me.  The paper I had that could be used was old and yellowed, I had absolutely no idea how to mix the paint — I thought I just needed to add some water to the palette (YUP I’m serious… and if you’ve wondered the same thing YOU ARE MY PEOPLE)… but no, in fact that did not work, and only caused the colors to run together.

When I tried to mix colors, holy cow, they were too light, and when I tried to paint with them on the yellowed crap paper — it was AWFUL.  

Those moments led me to the thoughts of — should I even be doing this? Am I even on the right path? Is this what God wants of me? I can’t even paint a stinking flower with this watercolor paint (facepalm) how will ANYONE EVER want to ~buy~ anything from me… and BONUS — how will I get more acrylic paint if there are shortages and we’re worried about deliveries and the stores are closed and I have 3 kids that I’m not ready to venture out with and the list went on and on and on…

*and yes I realize that was a stream of consciousness sentence and doesn’t subscribe to the general oxford comma rule — it’s meant to be that way for emphasis though I’m sure at some point I’ll go back and change it because I’m a major grammar nerd and stream of consciousness (while proves a point) has always irked me …*

BACK TO THE PIN

But — let’s go back to the “pin” we put in my husband getting me a watercolor palette for my birthday.

via GIPHY

He had NO IDEA how terrified I was of this gift.  BUT looking back, I believe that was God’s gift to me — as a creative, as a mother, as an artist.  I needed something — SOMETHING — to have some semblance of freedom in the midst of the sheer craziness occupying our lives.  His gentle mercy to me was my husband giving me a watercolor palette and some good watercolor paper.


Like I said, it didn’t come naturally.  I didn’t know what I was doing — I tried and failed and tried and failed, but I just kept feelings this nudging on my heart to keep going.  Well, I have, and all the failures have brought me to where I am now.  Still learning, still failing, but still moving forward.  I’ve been called to be creative, and sometimes creativity looks like failing a LOT before you succeed.  Sometimes your calling looks like struggling to learn a skill, to do a skill, to find your niche, whatever it is… sometimes it looks like failure.

via GIPHY

But you know what? Here’s the good news: even when I failed, God never left me.  He kept bringing me back to the paint.  He kept nudging me back to this creative dream.  Wow, as I’m writing this I’m feeling such intimacy with this verse:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I shall boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s one of my favorite verses, but it’s such a good reminder of failure.  Whatever it is you’re struggling with right now, God will NEVER leave you.  He will NEVER forsake you.  He is ALWAYS present, constant in good times and in times of trouble.  If you fail, God doesn’t care.  He loves you all the same.  But if you try? Well, His power is made perfect in your weakness.  Take heart and have strength my friend.  


So, yeah, I failed at watercolor.  And if you pick up something new, you might too.  But here’s my advice — keep going.  You’re human and humans fail at stuff.  God still loves you and is still cheering you on no matter what.

I’m not trying to evangelize you, though if you ever want to chat about it, just shoot me an email, but my point is — your creativity is unique to YOU.  No one else has the exact same skill set that you you.  God created you perfectly, and just the way He wanted, so that you could do something amazing with your creative gifts.  You should use them.

And if you want some extra resources for getting creative? 

  1. Take this quiz to find out what kind of creative you are! (because you ARE and I’m calling BS on people thinking “I’m not creative.”)

  2.  Keep up with me on Instagram. I all about my creative process from start, to finish, to everywhere in between.  If you wanna know how I get creative (and stay in the zone) this is the place to be. And stay tuned for the occasional giveaway!

  3. Snag your spot in my FREE Introduction to Watercolor Supplies Course. It’s going to give you all the know-how you need to start playing around with watercolor — because we can’t break the rules until we know what they are, right?!

Wanna save this loving reminder that failure isn’t the end? Tap the photo below and PIN IT for later!

Your future self will thank you!


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