It’s been a while since I’ve busted out the paints. I love painting! Painting was my life before I had kids.
When talking to friends about my love for painting the conversation usually steers towards watercolor, “the most difficult paint medium”. They’re not as difficult as you may think. If you’ve got the right tools, you’ll be surprised how forgiving the medium is.
Periodically, I’d like to chime in here and there with a few tips on painting with watercolor. Let’s start with the basic tools and how to get saturated tones.
You can buy yourself tubes or cakes of watercolor. Here I have Talens transparent watercolor set. They come in a nice travel-sized set. I use these most because they’re so compact, pack up quickly and the pigments are great. I never know how much time I’m going to get to paint, so I have to be able to clean up at a moment’s notice. I have a tube set with a giant palette, but I never use those. The palette takes up too much space (I typically paint in chaos, when there’s not much clean desk space around).
I like to have a variety of brushes as well. To start, you’ll want a 4 round, 8 round (make sure they have sharp points) and a broad flat. The big ones get expensive really fast, but they’re worth every penny. They’ll last forever (mine are 10 years old and still going strong). I prefer synthetic brushes, but not everyone feels the same way.
You’ll want the best paper you can find. I prefer Arches rough watercolor paper, 140lbs or greater. Get the 300lb paper if you can afford it. It’s SO much more forgiving and it feels so nice. You could also go for cold or hot press, I prefer the texture of rough watercolor paper.
You must get a giant jar of water. The above jar does alright, but I change it out every 30 minutes or so. If you can spare an ice cream bucket, get the bucket. And fill it with hot water.
Don’t forget the hot water.
For saturated tones, add a few generous drops of warm/hot water to each cake. Wait a minute or two before starting. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. Your colors will dry brighter and your expensive brush will last longer.
See the above? The first was just done with a wet brush and dry pigment. The colors are muted. Granted, that works with the ceramic subject matter. But sometimes a subject needs more drama than Scandal, so I soak my pigments. And I love my drama. Stay tuned for more of these painting tips/tutorials.
These things I learned during high school while taking private lessons from local artist, Harold Petersen. No one ever mentioned this stuff in college. Watercolor seemed to be the bastard medium in the paint department.
Perhaps it’s because I’m behind on everything, I didn’t realize my friend Alison has a new watercolor series on her blog as well! Wow. Where have I been? I really try not to copy-cat what’s out there. Of course, it’s not like this blog is the only place you can get information and tutorials like this and it’s not like everyone uses the same techniques or materials. I’m pinning my favorite watercolor tutorials and DIY inspiration over here. Check it out. There are some great resources out there if you’re interested in learning.