So you still can't quite
a "real" artist...
been there, my friend.
Imagine a world where you're sitting at your desk for hours every day, a cozy cup of tea by your side, lost in the powerful hum of the creative flow, bringing your wildest imaginings to life...
...and more than the beauty you're creating, it's the wonder you're feeling that makes you certain you finally belong here.
If that vision feels magical and impossible, you're not alone. Most of us feel guilty just taking a few minutes a day at the corner of the kitchen table to eke out a little bit of progress and calm.
It's true that hours and days to ourselves in a quiet studio enveloped by creative flow will be difficult to manage even for the most privileged of us.
But what if I told you that second vision, the feeling of overwhelming creative belonging, is 100% within your grasp?
Creative souls like ours
thrive with connection.
Feeling a little stuck in your watercolor journey?
Feeling a little stuck in your watercolor journey?
Watercolor is quickly becoming your favorite hobby, and you're hungry for that creative flow... but you always seem to get stuck on what you don't know and struggle to make time for practice.
You feel like you're always behind everyone else and worry that you'll never make progress or prove your worth as an artist.
Everyone in your life politely listens to your rants about art and creativity... but you wish you had some kind of creative support system outside social media, with artists who really get it.
If "YouTube Tutorial Expert" was a title, you'd have won it a million times over... but now you're stuck on how to move past tutorials and into your own style.
let me know if this sounds familiar...
Your new watercolor family is waiting for you.
"I did wonder if I would get enough out of the Co-Op as this is a hobby for me. I don't have any ambitions for art beyond that, but I feel just as much of an artist and part of the community and someone who has been doing it for years."
...and underneath all the grit and confidence was a terrified, lonely person who never seemed to fit in anywhere. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many goals I accomplished, it never felt enough to qualify for the belonging I desperately craved.
Watercolor showed me the way out of perfectionism and into radical self-love -- with its wild and breathtaking style, I started to think that, just maybe, there was something to "letting go" after all.
But even after discovering watercolor, there was a gap between where I was and where I wanted to be, and that gap was painful to reconcile.
it wasn't until I broke myself open and let in the creative power of community that I finally understood what true belonging looks like.
The Co-Op is a community for curious creatives to come together in their shared passion for progress, discovery, and wonder
-- and watercolor, of course.
Through our monthly live workshops, mindset discussions, and community support,
the Co-Op provides a safe space for you to truly explore how much potential you have... exactly where you are.
I am not a therapist (important disclaimer), but members have described our Co-Op monthly mindset chats as "kind of like creative group therapy" -- a safe space where we can share our deepest fears, celebrate breakthroughs, and gather tools to keep moving forward.
Each month, we dive deep into topics like building creative habits and practicing self-compassion, all in an effort to gently nourish your creativity and give you more courage to break free from whatever is holding you back.
Identifying the roadblocks is the first step to truly stepping into your creative potential, my friend.
While you'll always have access to the full 2-hour replay of our workshops, I know some schedules just don't work for that kind of time investment. That's why the Co-Op Week 2 brings you a narrated, condensed version of the previous month's workshop that you can watch in 20 minutes or less.
We'll round out every month with a Co-Op exclusive newsletter, where I'll share upcoming events and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what's going on in my studio.
(By the way, I'm not very good at being *professional*, so consider this a real, raw look at what it's like to be a full-time artist -- the good, the bad, and everything in between!)
The Co-Op Studio Newsletter also includes practical takeaways based on our mindset idea for the month as well as suggestions for new supplies or resources to explore.
There's just something about painting in real time with all of your creative friends.
Join us in Week Three of the Co-Op for a live watercolor workshop, where we'll explore new themes every quarter! You'll also get immediate access to the replays of all past workshops, like a stunning northern lights snowy landscape and a galaxy night sky mountain scene.
LET'S BREAK it DOWN
give your creativity a safe place to flourish
Develop your watercolor skill with new workshops and techniques every month
Connect with like-minded creatives who actually "get it"
Understand your creative blocks and gather practical tools to help you work through them
Build a sustainable creative practice with curiosity and self-compassion
Create tiny moments of wonder that lead to transformational breakthroughs
Connect with yourself and your fellow creatives to gain deeper insight into your creative journey.
Create alongside the community
to safely and boldly
explore new techniques.
Discover just how powerful your imperfections are -- especially when you add them to a collective
The world is a better place because you're in it,
and we want to help you shine even brighter.
“There is no way I would have gotten to this point in my watercolor practice without Kolbie and the support of the Co-Op.”
"Before joining the Artist Cooperative, I was fully in love with watercolor, but had no idea how to move beyond tutorials. I could not break down an inspiration photo and did not know where to even start. Kolbie's instruction helped me learn how to translate what I see, and turn that into my own original watercolor creations."
Love for the Co-Op
“Kolbie's teaching style is down-to-earth and inclusive.”
"She is not afraid to show her mistake, and she teaches that mistakes can lead to wonderful discoveries... It is amazing to be able to talk with and share art with people from all over the world who have something in common."
“It has been such a joy to paint alongside everyone and to discuss topics related to the artist's mindset in such a supportive space!”
"I joined the Artist Cooperative as a natural progression from Exploring Watercolor 101, as a way to continue to connect and learn from Kolbie and others in our artist's community on a regular basis. I'm grateful for the community that Kolbie created."
your creative journey wasn't
meant to be this lonely.
As a big THANK YOU for joining our community, you'll also get access to a growing library of mini courses -- including every Skillshare class I publish in the future! Currently, there are mini courses on watercolor landscapes, gouache seascapes, and beginner watercolor techniques, with so much more to come.
from a photo
Brené Brown famously wrote: "True belonging doesn't require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are."
Who you are is a real artist because creativity isn't something you earn -- it's something you discover, deep within yourself. You already have an infinite well that would take you a million lifetimes to explore fully, and the only way to get started is to take that first step. And the next. And the next.
I know it can feel impossible when each step into creativity feels like an intrusion, like everyone else has an invitation except you.
But the truth is that it wouldn't matter how many songs of praise you receive from others if you don't believe it yourself.
You are the only person who can give you permission to take up the space that was always yours -- and when you finally have the courage to take yourself seriously, to take a deep breath and say "I am a real artist," no matter how much experience you do or don't have, you'll be amazed at how much more wonder there is to find on this journey.
And if you have trouble remembering sometimes? Well, that's where we come in.
The only one who can give you permission to be a "real" artist... is you.
You're in the right place.
Join us! >
"I love that there’s an online component where I can be my shy self, and I have the option to participate in live Zoom calls on my terms (camera on or off? Unmute or type my questions/comments? No problem! I can be ME.)
I can be the artist I always wanted to be, and thanks to the friendships I’ve made in the co-op, I honestly feel like I have an artistic side that feels comfortable sharing my paintings."
Creativity can't happen without rest, but that's a secret perfectionism never wants you to know. Creative Rest is the ultimate act of self-compassion, insisting that actually, you don't need growth or progress to be worthy of celebration and love. You are whole and full of infinite wonder exactly where you are, exactly as you are.
Using your creativity for rest can look like incorporating mindfulness into your watercolor practice, doing slow, easy drills back and forth with your paintbrush, or even abandoning your desk altogether and living your life outside the studio for a while. Here, you're allowing ideas and feelings to flow through you with a curious embrace and zero expectation, letting them roam in complete and unconditional acceptance.
Because we honor all emotions here, Creative Rest a habit you must cultivate to ensure your creative growth not only grows forward, but outward -- expanding to include every moment you're actually in, not just the ones you're looking forward to.
The quickest way to squash an idea is by taking it straight from its initial spark to a raging fire with no testing in between -- just like a real campfire, you have to coax it out first, trying out various positioning and kindling until it gains traction. That's what we like to call Creative Play.
Creative Play is all about letting curiosity take the wheel, testing boundaries and ideas with the intention of learning and growing along the way. Ideas need time to explore before they can really take off, and Creative Play is a way for you to safely take risks while there's nothing really at stake. Falling on your face is actually the point -- because "failure" really just means opportunities for new discoveries.
In the Artist Cooperative, we focus a lot on Creative Play during our live workshops and as we share feedback throughout the month. If your project doesn't turn out as expected -- amazing! You've done it! You were brave, and we have your back.
At some point in your creative explorations, an idea will gain so much traction that it may reach a breaking point: It's time to dig deep and focus on compiling your research into a cohesive body of work. Welcome to Creative Focus.
This is the image most people have in their minds when they think the word "artist" -- and it's why most people give up on art so early. That furrowed brow and stroke of wild inspiration is intimidating! But in the Artist Cooperative, we know Creative Focus doesn't have to be so serious, and anyone qualifies for it.
It's not so much the skill or experience you have as it is the mindset with which you approach your art. Do you see a connection between ideas that feels exciting, expansive, and life-giving? Creative Focus is shifting gears from experimentation to implementation, showing your curiosity that you wholeheartedly believe in the paths it led you down.
Just remember that Creative Focus isn't about forcing your expectations into reality -- it's being confident enough to move forward with what you know, and open enough to embrace the unexpected discoveries that lie ahead.
And what happens when you get stuck, or stranded in the overwhelming uncertainty of the wilderness?
When an idea feels too elusive to grasp hold of it alone, or when you can't get your inner critic's loud echoes out of your head, it's time to call in the reinforcements: A Creative Community.
Creative Community isn't just a thing -- it's a muscle we all need to build that will skyrocket your creative growth in ways you've never felt before. When artists like you and me connect over shared experiences, hopes, and fears, our collective ideas and energies gather together in a voice too strong to ignore.
Whether you practice Creative Community to help you explore an idea with fresh eyes, or you rely on Creative Community to keep you afloat when forces outside your control are too much to bear alone, keeping that connection strong will help you remember that your creative journey was not meant to be solitary.
As magical as it is to create tiny moments of wonder for yourself, imagine getting to share that with friends who wholly and completely understand and will celebrate to the ends of the earth with you.
I have a love/hate relationship with longterm daily challenges. They are excellent for boosting your anticipation and motivation... until you hit day three, and all of your motivation leaves you.
This year in the Co-Op, I made it a goal to change that! Each quarter in the Artist Cooperative, I host a month-long daily challenge, all centered around one fun, doable theme. My main goal? Make it as easy as possible to succeed! The next Co-Op community challenge is Swatchtober -- where we'll have fun swatching our favorite colors based on whimsical themes every day during October. Making painting easy and using our community to connect with other artists is what these challenges are all about!
you're invited to...
My name is Kolbie, and I never thought I'd be here.
I am a self-taught watercolor artist, author, online educator, and recovering perfectionist.
Since learning to paint and diving into the world of creativity, I'm so honored to say I've taught more than 25,000 people worldwide to love watercolor as much as I do.
hello, my friend.
The truth is that people make me nervous. The exact words the psychologist used were: "severe social anxiety."
Art and social media felt like the perfect match for me because I could create behind the safety of my phone screen, never needing to really connect outside my comfort level.
But at some point, I knew I wasn't reaching as far as I could. Something in my creative practice (and business) wasn't quite right, and I couldn't figure it out... until I opened my signature beginners course, Exploring Watercolor 101.
The missing piece was community.
When I first launched Exploring Watercolor 101, the students were excited about the course but didn't stay engaged for long in the Facebook group. To help with that, I put together a 6-week community challenge complete with weekly emails introducing each module along with weekly live Q&A's in an effort to spur engagement and to help folks actually finish the course.
Imagine my surprise when those weekly Q&A's were not only a hit with the students... but they also gave me the creative breakthroughs I'd been longing for!
The power of collective creative thinking hit me like a ton of bricks, and that's when I knew stretching into community needed to be an important part of my practice if I wanted to truly test the bounds of my own creative potential.
I also knew that more than my "expertise" in watercolor, these artists needed each other. Community was the missing piece, and that's why I created the Artist Cooperative --
so we can have that power of community consistently, not just during a 6-week challenge.
In my experience, the trait that sets apart good art from great art is the artist's ability to ask a simple "what if?"
What if, actually, you are a real artist, and you do have meaningful things to create that will dazzle the world --
and bring infinite light into your life?
What if entering "the creative flow" and finding your power isn't as impossible as it feels right now?
What if you had the ability to find infinite creative joy exactly where you are -- regardless of your skill level?
"Joining the Co-Op was a hard decision for me as I am a frugal person and tend not to spend money on myself, but I have found that as I prioritize my creative practice and have been willing to invest the time and money, I feel more complete."
“The Artist Cooperative feels like my own magical artsy corner of the internet. The support that everyone provides in my watercolor journey is fantastic. I feel as though I have my own personal cheerleaders, celebrating my artistic wins and helping advise me through any challenges.
Live monthly mindset deep dive
Live monthly watercolor workshop
Condensed tutorial for every live workshop, delivered the month after
Quarterly "Paint Away the Day" where you can spend quality time creating whatever you want with friends you love
Exclusive newsletter with behind-the-scenes peeks into my studio with tailored supplies recommendations and reference photo drops
Private non-Facebook community to engage with fellow creatives, share your work, and receive feedback on a regular basis
Access to a growing mini course library, which currently includes some of my most popular Skillshare classes + a few key lessons from Exploring Watercolor 101 (my signature watercolor course)
Let's do this >
The Artist Cooperative isn't meant to be a cage -- if you ever feel like the community is no longer serving you, we'll wish you well as you go on your way. Just shoot me an email to cancel your monthly payments, and we'll part ways grateful for the time we had together.
It's for all skill levels! The live watercolor workshops will vary between beginner and intermediate levels, and we currently have members of varying experience cheering each other on!
Frequently Asked Questions
Facebook is convenient, but it can get kind of busy -- the Co-Op is meant to be an intentional creative haven where you won't have to worry about other voices vying for your attention. Our space is on a free platform called Geneva, which has a desktop version as well as apps for both Apple and Android. It works much like Facebook groups, but a lot more private.
EW101 is a deep dive into watercolor basics -- the lessons are pre-recorded, and while the community is ongoing, active engagement guided by me only happens twice a year. The Co-Op has live workshops for both beginner and intermediate-level artists with consistent engagement and an intimate look at my own creative practice. The Co-Op is a natural extension of EW101 if you don't want the fun to end, but you don't need to have been in the course to join!
If you attend both live events/watch the replays, it will be about 3-5 hours a month between the workshop and the mindset discussion. But I'm not taking a tally! You can join in as it feels good for you.
Yes! Each Zoom call (live workshop + live Q&A) will be recorded and uploaded to the membership platform within 7 days, and there will be a condensed version of the workshop uploaded the following month!
Since I am primarily a landscape artist, there will be a lot of landscapes -- but I'm more focused on exploring techniques, so there is room for flexibility! We'll take a vote in the community to choose a theme for every quarter -- so far, we've done "Watercolor Gift Ideas" (cards, ornaments, fine art) and "Snow + White Space."
My Skillshare classes are one-and-done mini courses, and you will get access to my most recent ones as a member of the Co-Op! The workshops we do here are all live with the added benefit of the ongoing community support.
Anyone can cancel at any time by sending me an email -- you'll have continued access up until the date of your next scheduled payment (monthly or yearly).
If life circumstances have changed, and you're unsure about your membership, just let me know, and we can talk about options!