Watercolor Painting Process – Part 4
I APOLOGIZE FOR PICTURES HERE THAT ARE A TAD BLURRY. I SET UP MY CAMERA TO DO THE SHOTS WITH THE SELF-TIMER, BUT ALAS, I HAVE MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT THAT ASPECT OF PHOTOGRAPHY!!! 😉
In this next part I just wanted to tell you that it seems like there are a million colors to choose from for anything you want to paint. What I love about painting is the adventure of PLAYING WITH COLOR!!! You can vary color range by adding water a little at a time to lighten a paint color more and more. Obviously, you can change a color by adding another color to it also. If you want to learn about color mixing, there are many books available on the subject, or you can probably google “watercolor paint color mixing” or something to that effect and find all sorts of places that will help you in the process of mixing colors. One of my favorite books that I referred to a great deal in the beginning of my early painting days is called
“How To Mix and Use Color-The Artist’s Guide to Achieving the Perfect Color in Every Medium” by Tony Paul.
If you eventually really get into painting in any medium, however, one of the best books I have that goes into more depth about color is one called simply, “Color-A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors” by Betty Edwards who is also the author of “The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.”
Fpr beginners, though, I would just google watercolor paint color mixing for now to save you some expense until you decide whether you really want to pursue painting.
Here are my pictures using the color Winsor Blue (Red Shade) to start experimenting with getting the color I wanted for my sky. I have a metal pan I use for my paint mixing. It does not have separate wells although I have used that type in the past. Through the years I have learned that the plastic mixing trays get stained especially with colors that tend to have more staining pigments in them. The metal pan washes out completely clean every time. I have found it to be a good investment. I just place my colors about an inch apart in the pan and pull a little of each out to mix them. I have flat mixing instruments I sometimes use, but mostly I just use my brush to mix paint. You can even use a butter knife.
Also, remember that the more water you add to a color or a mix of colors, the lighter the color will be.
After I mix my colors, I test them on a piece of scratch paper. I usually have pieces of the same kind of paper I am painting on so the surface will be the same. It’s amazing how different paint comes out looking on different types of paper! But I also use the cheaper watercolor paper for scraps.
STEP 1 – SQUEEZE THE PAINT OUT INTO THE PAN
STEP 2 – ADD A LITTLE WATER TO THE COLOR AND MIX
NOTE: I have a little plastic container I use for my water. You can use anything that holds water, a bowl, a glass, anything! This is just a little container I started with 15 years ago that has stuck with me. Also, remember to change your water after working for a little while, especially if you are using colors that have more staining pigments, such as this blue I was using.
STEP 3 – PAINT A STRIP ONTO SCRATCH PAPER BEFORE PUTTING IT ONTO MY ACTUAL PAINTING
HERE, I PAINTED SOME RAW UMBER OVER SOME HOOKER’S LIGHT GREEN HUE TO GET A DIFFERENT SHADE FOR SOME OF THE LANDSCAPING IN MY PAINTING, AND FOR PARTS OF MY SEA TURTLE.
Layering colors is another way of experiementing with mixing.
HAVE FUN PLAYING WITH PAINT COLORS! PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU TRY ANYTHING I’VE SHOWN YOU HERE.
HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY, AND GIVE SOMEONE YOU LOVE A BIG HUG!! 🙂
© Patsy H. Parker
Watercolor Painting Process – Part 3
This next step is something you may or may not want to do in your painting. In order to preserve the “white” of the paper for highlights or being able to go back over a spot that you want to appear much lighter, you can use this product called Colourless Art Masking Fluid.
I use the Winsor Newton brand, but there are other brands available. You can get it at just about any store that sells art supplies.
The one thing you need to know about this product, however, is that you should use a very cheap type of brush to apply it. Think about how much space you want covered, too. Smaller brushes for smaller spaces, larger brushes for larger spaces, for instance. I will warn you it is difficult to get off of the brush after you are done. I have tried using various soaps, but it is rubbery, so sometimes I just pull it off with my fingers or use something sharp to scrape it off. Note that the brushes may seem much more tattered after using them for this, which is why you want to go cheap for brushes!!
Also note that this is not the only way to preserve the white of the paper. You can also just paint very carefully around those parts and hope for the best. I have had on occasion, but rarely, the bad experience of the masking fluid leave parts more white than I wanted them, because I painted too much on.
FOR BEGINNERS: I would avoid using this product until you become really comfortable with painting first. 🙂
WINSOR AND NEWTON COLOURLESS ART MASKING FLUID
STAY TUNED FOR PARTS 4 AND 5 OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS! 🙂
© Patsy H. Parker
Watercolor Painting Process – Part 2
Hello there! I am finally getting to my posts about how I do a watercolor painting. Sorry for the wait! This will have to be broken up into several posts, because I have a lot of pictures. So Part 2 is just a couple of pictures showing you what I do after I have my final drawing of my main subject, in this case, my sixth sea turtle. Part 1 addressed how I stretch my paper before painting on it.
Step 1 – After I finish my drawing on paper, I usually trace it onto tracing paper before I transfer it to my watercolor paper. Tracing paper shows through to the watercolor paper much clearer than the drawing paper. It is extra drawing, but I find it works best. This time I traced the turtle with a fine point black pen instead of pencil which is what I have been doing. I found it worked much better, so I will be investing in some of these pens soon!
I have an Artograph Light Tracer 2 Light Box that I use to transfer my drawings to my watercolor paper. Here is a link where you can buy one if you are interested. http://www.dickblick.com/products/artograph-lightracer-light-box/ Check around other websites for a better price, but Dick Blick is a great company.
By the way, my favorite watercolor paper is Arches brand, cold press, 300 lb. http://www.dickblick.com/products/arches-bright-white-watercolor-paper/ It is thick, heavy and unfortunately, on the expensive side. However, I get it online at I have two different sizes. The one in this picture is 18″x12″. I have a smaller one that is 12″x10″. I have had the smaller one for many years which is what I use for transferring smaller images to smaller paper. When I began doing larger paintings, I had to get the larger one which has obviously come in very handy for doing all of these huge sea turtles!
Step 2 – I plug in my light box and put it on my desk. Then I lay the drawing down on the lightboard. Sometimes I tape the drawing to the lightboard, but in this case I couldn’t, because it was too large.
Step 3 – I turn on the light box.
Step 4- I lay down the watercolor paper on top of the drawing, positioning the paper where I want the turtle to be. I usually have my background idea in mind before I do this. Sometimes I do a rough sketch of that idea; sometimes I don’t. In this case I decided I wanted this turtle to be coming out of the water and be mostly on the beach. So I already had in mind to have a horizon line at the top of the turtle with sky above and the beach and part water around him/her. I haven’t decided on its name yet! 😉
A note for beginners: Sometimes I tape the drawing onto the back of the paper to hold it into position, but not always. But you will have to know where you want your drawing to be on the watercolor paper before you do this. If you’re just starting out, this is a good idea. I use white artist’s tape and just tape down the corners of the tracing paper. It comes off easily when I’m done, and doesn’t tear the paper. I never use scotch tape or masking tape on my paper, because I have had it tear the paper when lifting it off.
In my smaller paintings, where I want to have a border, I usually leave the initial tape around the piece I have stretched and paint with the paper still on the board. Then when I am finished with the painting, I remove the tape carefully and have a 1/2″ border around the painting to allow for matting and framing. However, I have a border around my first sea turtle painting that I found I don’t like, so I have not done that with the rest of them.
LIGHT BOX TRACING
© Patsy H. Parker
Watercolor Painting Process – Part 1
10 Steps to Stretching Watercolor Paper
I realized when I was looking over old posts that it has been way too long since I said I was going to post about how to do a watercolor painting. Sorry about that!
Here is the first step to many in completing a painting! Here are pictures my daughter took of me just doing the very first thing which is to stretch the paper so it won’t buckle (curl up) when you go to paint on it.
Also, you can do this with any size paper and in a sink in the house. I did this outside in a huge tub, because it was one of the pieces that one of my sea turtles was painted on.
If you have any questions, post them below! 🙂
Steps 1 through 3 are just putting the paper in and immersing it completely, holding it under the water a couple of minutes, then turning it over and doing the same.
Step 4 is lifting the paper out and shaking off the excess water.
Steps 5-7 are wiping the paper down on a flat surface. I use a smooth board and a porous sponge to continue getting the excess water off. I put paper towels under the paper also. Then I turn it over and put it on new dry paper towels and do the same.
Steps 8-10 are when I tape the paper down to my board. I make sure the board is as dry as I can get it first. Then I lay my paper down, use artist’s tape (don’t use masking tape!) or some people use other types of tape. Check with your art supply store first before you buy any. I have always preferred the white artist’s tape, because after my painting is finished, it doesn’t tear the paper (if the paper is good quality) when I take it off.
When I lay my tape down, obviously part of it is on the paper and part on the board. Then to make sure there is no air, I run my fingernail along the edge of the taped paper that is attached to the board.
I hope that is clear. If not, ask me a question! Soon I will try and post the process I go through to do my paintings. 🙂
© Patsy H. Parker