Painting in Watercolours: The Lady in Black


The Lady in Black

I had the picture of the lady in black in my head for a couple of months before I took out my watercolours to put it into the world. The picture would show a rear-view figure in a sleeveless black dress with low-cut back. She’d had her hair gathered in a low chignon. The viewer wouldn’t be able to see her face, giving an air of sadness and contemplation.

Lady in Black (2022), watercolour.
Maybe I was inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s famours Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog that I got to see in person during our Hamburg vacation in 2021.

Creativity and Its Limits

As a teenager, I drew and painted a lot but I gave up on it pretty much in adulthood. Mostly it was because my creative focus shifted onto knitting and sewing. It was easier for me to translate the picture in my head into reality with the help of these crafts, something I could never to with painting and drawing to be absolutely truthful. Then again, the truth also is that expressing yourself, however flawed and insufficient, has value in itself. It’s healing, relaxing and freeing at the same time, even if you don’t paint on Michelangelo’s level.

In this Instagram post you can see a watercolour I made for my grandmother years ago. We put the painting into boxes in the basement after her death. After we remade my childhood room at my parents’ house into a guestroom slash sewing room for my mom, we looked for it and put it up next to the bed. I painted it with the help of some watercolours book if I remember correctly.

Sunflowers (2019), watercolours.
Monstera (2019), watercolours.

Looking for Inspiration

Above are two other watercolours I painted in a bout of creativity in recent years. Sadly, I rarely get the inspiration, that picture in my mind, that gets me to sit down and put something on paper. Then again, maybe I’m standing in my own way here. Both 2019 watercolours were made without that divine flash of inspiration. I mostly just sat down and painted what I loved (sunflowers) or what was nearby (my monstera). That being said, I put up my Lady in Black proudly above my dressing table, right next to my little art gallery in our bedroom.

My art gallery wall with paintings, drawings and other types of art I’ve collected over the years.

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