Karin Elizabeth | watercolor
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Self 2016, week 04 and catching up

One thing to know about me as you follow my weekly project is that I am very chaotic, forgetful and easily distracted. Before I realize it, time will have flown by, and lo – I’m behind on editing and posting my self 2016 project. It definitely holds me back. Then there is my perfectionism: for week 04 I struggled with getting the tones and edit just right, and had to work on two computers with their own pitfalls before I finally got it just right. But about two weeks had passed since I’d taken the shot, and while I did work on subsequent themes in the meantime, I couldn’t edit them, couldn’t focus on them, until I had theme 04 juuuuuust right.


While I experience frustration with myself, and this kind of thing used to make me want to throw in the towel, this time I am determined to see it through. So what if I’m delayed with getting the results in? So what if I’m a little bit of a perfectionist at times? As long as new work is being produced, all of that ceases to really matter. I’m going to do my best, and learn from the process in the meantime.

KE-blog_theme04-bansheeSo forgetful in fact, that I had to write a reminder on my hand to take the damn shot before week’s end.

During week 02, which was about death, I had the idea to work with the banshee theme. Part of me was hesitant (which contributed to my taking until the weekend to even take the photo), because I’d already done back-to-back death-inspired photos for themes 02 and 03. A banshee would make it three in a row. But I was too drawn to it, and it was mostly the combination of The Netherlands’ very stormy, foreshadowing weather that week, and how a banshee photo would allow me to really express something, facially and directly, that made me want to do this in the end. The gusts of wind inspired me just as much as the desire to be overt in my expression.

It lead to a classic interpretation of The Banshee, save from perhaps the grey hair (hey, if Teen Wolf’s Lydia can get away with it, so can I), but I’m pretty happy with the shoot in general. It yielded a lot of great expressive shots (with perfect stormblown hair); once I’m caught up with the other themes, I’ll see if I can share a few more.

A quick watercolor update: 

In the meantime, I’ve also continued to work on my watercoloring. I ordered a lovely palette box from Winsor & Newton, with 24 pans, and so far I’m absolutely loving it. It’s starting to look used, and there’s something incredibly beautiful to me about images of used paint supplies. They’re little works of art in their own right!
Anyway, I’m posting little snippets of my finally-started-watercolor-pad on Instagram, but will be sure to share some finished works here soon as well. First, Self 2016 themes.

It’s kind of funny how this post started off as me complaining about how far behind I am… only to, at the end of the post, understand that this may be a good thing, to have SO MUCH to share that I fall behind. Amazing, really. It’s actually pretty damn fantastic to be in this position for a change. 

My first and latest creative loves

Growing up, I always used to draw… mostly animals (as a kid, I started off drawing horses) and later on portraits of mostly celebrities. While I’m not going to sit here and say I was the bomb diggity at drawing, and I sure missed a lot of nuance in the sense of technique and shading, I really didn’t suck. I learned quickly that I had a knack for getting someone’s likeness right and it’s what got me appreciating the realistic style the most.

So that’s where my interest in visual arts started: not photography, but drawing. While I did dabble in acrylic painting for a while, photography basically replaced drawing and it was enough to make me feel sated up until 2014, which is when my passion and inspiration started to deflate. Life altering events caused a major existential crisis and I was left wondering about and doubting everything that was ever truly important to me. But I found my way back, and it’s mostly through perseverance and a shitload of trying to understand my new self that I’m still a photographer and artist today, even though it may be in a lesser capacity for the time being. I’m still finding my way back, or forward – it depends on how you look at it.


What also helped me to keep at it was the decision I rather spontaneously made one day to purchase some new art supplies. Nothing fancy, as I just planned on dabbling. And it still took me about five months before I ever tried anything. But you know, a health situation forced me to stay mostly sedentary for a few weeks. I was bored out of my skull after a few days, and pretty desperate to do anything challenging and stimulating, so I grabbed that watercolor palet and a sketchpad, and started to try some stuff. While I love the thickness and the texture of acrylic paint, I quickly saw there is something truly magical about watercolor. I was just mixing colors and trying out brushes at first, but the flow of colors, the blending – it was love at first stroke.

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I then decided to draw again as well, both with pencil and ink, and to work on coloring and shading using watercolor, thus combining respectively my first creative love with my latest one. It would also help me to finally practice shading techniques. The attic in our house has always been my workplace, and I’ve designated one of my desks as my drawing area. The natural light there is amazing, and it’s a perfectly calm place to be due to the view I have: trees, trees, trees.


I’m happy I started this. It’s a nostalgic activity for me, because it brings me back to a time where I felt open to trying things, open to learning and open to creating something with my bare hands – and in that way the nostalgia opens up doors for me in the future, as it inspires me to see myself, my work and my world differently. It helps to fulfill me as well as inspires me to work visually in general, a great benefit to my photography. It’s also deeply relaxing to me, much like coloring books for adults, which I’m a fan of.

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So on this site, from here on out, I also plan to share some of my watercolor works, which is mostly practice and a lot of work in progress, but I think it will be fun and stimulating to see my watercoloring develop further. I’m also making it a point to try to Instagram more in 2016: apart from finding daily life images, you’ll also find some watercolor snaps there as well as behind the scenes shots of my Self 2016 project (about which I will blog soon, as well).

Then, a final note – the creative world has lost two legendary and utterly inspiring men this week. David Bowie and Alan Rickman. While I’m always saddened to hear about any death, I try not to let myself feel affected by celebrity deaths, because after all, I did not know them personally. But in the case of these two amazing men, I can’t help it. I appreciated them, I appreciated their talent and their skill. David Bowie was always himself: it was OK to be different (and I loved his voice). Alan Rickman was an amazing actor: I truly respected him (and I really loved his voice). I am shaken up a little, and very moved by their passing.
May they both rest in peace.