It’s important to note that Watercolor Is For Everyone isn’t a how-to painting workbook for how to use watercolor paints. This book doesn’t go step by step through how to create gradients, how to mix colors, or anything like that. It doesn’t give you instructions for painting roses or laying out landscapes. Instead, this is a free-form mindfulness exercise which is about setting loose all those expectations and just playing.
In that sense, it works reasonably well. There are other books out there which cover the basics of how to hold a brush. Other books cover details about creating grassy fields or handling a person’s anatomy. This one here is to shake yourself out of expectations. It’s about simply letting things go.
I enclosed three of my examples from using this book. Sometimes like in “Perseverance” the end result is indeed supposed to look like something recognizable. Sometimes, like in the floral field, it’s sort of an impressionistic project that teaches you a new skill, in this case rolling a brush to form petals. And sometimes like with the “dendrites” which was done with a straw, it’s simply about having fun and going abstract.
I’m a strong proponent of mindfulness. I enjoy the philosophy of the book. So why didn’t I give it a full five stars?
First, I like when Kateri includes samples of a finished project from various other students. That gives us a variety of ideas to look at. She does it sometimes but not other times. I’m not sure why we didn’t get that variety for each project.
Next, there are times where her instructions are confusing. I’ve read a number of watercolor books, so I’m not new to this topic. Even so, there were situations that even after reading a few times it just wasn’t worded well. Similarly, there are cases where the instructions don’t quite match up with the images. She’ll say to do something, refer to an image, and the image contains something that doesn’t happen until the next step. So that also becomes confusing.
I’d like to have a few more examples. I’m not sure why the number 21 was chosen. If there were 31 it’d be absolutely perfect as a month-long meditation which you could restart at the next month. With only 21 lessons, it feels as if you’re left hanging.
This is the kind of a book that I’d buy in shares with a group of friends. I’d use it for a few months and pass it on. Someone else could use it for a few months and so on. Or I’d borrow it from a library. But I’m not sure that I’d keep it in my library and keep re-reading it year after year. By the time I did an exercise 3 or 4 times, I’d know the exercise well enough to do it on my own in my own watercolor practice.