Alt Text Frank M. Koran

The importance of shaking it up


As you can tell by the work here, I am primarily a watercolor artist. When I was in my senior year studying illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, I had to decide on what medium would be mine and I chose watercolor after much internal debate. I used to do these cool image transfer collages – I loved the process and the final image was always so cloudy and distressed. But, I quickly fell in love with watercolor and those techniques sort of fell by the wayside. It’s now a year and a half since I’ve graduated, and keeping up the same level of work without the structure of class is a challenge.

You’ve got to come up with ways to keep yourself busy and your work variable and interesting. So I decided to shake things up. With watercolor I felt as if I wasn’t progressing; like I had hit a plateau. I was getting bored treading water. I decided to focus on my figure drawing and take a small break from watercolor. I wasn’t breaking up with it for good, just taking time off. I used this time to refocus my artistic energy towards new goals. I wanted to get better at composition and the human figure. I felt as if I had been skimped a little bit in that department while at school. So, I started going to local figure drawing sessions, practicing gesture everyday, and reading up on anatomy books. For composition, I focused on doing image transfers and digital collage. With collage, there is no rendering necessary so all the focus is redirected into arranging the images in a pleasing way. was getting better at it, which felt good. Now I was thinking of all these figures that could potentially be put into my future paintings. New ideas! Inspiration!


Focusing on these two auxiliary skills reignited the fire in me to paint again, and paint differently. The way I handle watercolor now has provided me with a new skill tree, if you will. I felt all of a sudden that I had new things to learn and new plateaus to overcome. By shaking things up and forcing myself to practice different art forms broadened my artistic capabilities, and they transferred over into my watercolor work. So, if you’re ever bored or feel like you have no inspiration, just work in a different medium. Challenge yo’self. Watercolor doesn’t have to be the only way I make art. In fact, I’m going to grab myself a set of oils next week. I’ve always wanted to get back into it.  


Here’s one of the collages I made, which I made available as prints in the shop. Just click the image!


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1 Comment

  1. Kyle P. Murphy March 28, 2018 Reply

    Im a believer in the importance of shaking things up.

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