Near the airport there was a beautiful wildflower patch – all purple and golds, with bits of white and light blue. (I got tons of photos and will be painting it for years to come.) Here’s my process in finishing, fixing and changing to improve my watercolor composition.
Do you have trouble getting a rich, dark black or bright white with watercolor?
That’s because tube blacks (and Paynes Gray) are muddy and dull, and tube whites dry to nothing. Don’t worry – here’s the key to easy blacks for every subject and a great white. The first video shows how you can mix blacks and what to do with Pro white. The second video shows how to apply black wet on wet for rich, dark, glowing colors – the best of watercolor!Continue Reading
Painting an even flat wash of color seems simple, but it can be tricky. Here’s a video demonstration with 3 tips for painting a beautiful flat wash of color quickly and easily. Reference photo for this lesson is below the video.
Letting the paint mix on the paper can be SCARRRRRY, but never fear, the next wash will turn your pumpkin paintings into a real treat!
An artist will never love any of their paintings completely. We always have parts we like and little bits or places that bother us. That’s because artists are picky, and most (extremely?) picky about our work.
*NEWS FLASH* – You can use this quirk to your great advantage in your art career.
The easiest way to paint fog with watercolor is to just add water! In this post, I have a video on my fog painting technique, this photo of the Smokey Mountains you can download and practice on, and links to another longer lesson with fly fishing and fog.
Just now, I’m heading out a cabin in the woods to hunt more great nature and fog photos!
This was a class demo using blue and brown. I always liked it, but felt it was too blah… too cool… too something. Now it’s five years later. Is it too late to change now? Let’s try and see what happens.
Improved Version in 2015
I lifted out a window and added a light. Then I added burnt sienna to the tree areas and lifted out a full moon. Last, I added a chimney and lifted out a thin stream of smoke.
To learn advanced watercolor techniques, sign up for my Craftsy class on Painting Pets in Watercolor.
4 Options For Painting An Objects In The Sky Or Water
1. Paint around the object. This can be difficult.
2. Paint the object with liquid masking to save the area. This results in hard edges.
3. Paint the object on top of the other colors with opaque paint. With this method, you lose that wonderful watercolor glow.
4. Lift out the object. You need to use non-staining colors that will lift, but typically this gives you the best results. Let’s see how!
Trees can be difficult, but in this lesson, I’ll demonstrate simple, easy ways to ‘see’ and paint trees while avoiding the common problems.
3 Most Important Parts For Watercolor Trees
1. Color – mixing believable tree colors and they don’t have to be green
2. Texture and edges – add natural looking texture with the dribble method, sponging and/or salt
3. Values – Simplifying an object to it’s light, medium and dark layers makes any subject paintable.
Premixed greens are rarely the best choice. Here’s a quick guide to some common greens, and remember, trees can be a lot of colors besides green.
Green – Is It A Color or Mixture of colors?
Most greens are mixtures of a blue + a yellow or brown. Viridian, Green gold and perylene green are pigments and not mixes. I mix my own greens and use Perylene green ( a black green color that works well in landscapes.)
Thalo Blue – Most Common
Most tube greens (sap, hookers, etc.) are made with thalo blue, which stains. (Some tubes of paint list the ingredients on the side.)
The light blues, cobalt blue and cerulean blue, plus a yellow, make more silvery, grayed greens that look lovely, especially in the distance.
The dark blues, like ultramarine, Prussian, and even Payne’s Gray, plus a yellow, make more muted greens that can be very believable in a landscape.
Experiment with mixing the colors you have to see how many different shades of greens you can make. Use those colors for a dribble tree.
Trees are a combination of hard and soft edges, with holes for the birds to fly through. This method will give you everything a tree needs. Start smaller than you want, as trees tend to grow bigger as you paint them.
First: Dribble water onto dry paper in random patterns inside the area where you want the tree. (I’ll dribble yellow so it’s visible. You can start with clean water or yellow.)
Second: Paint some tree colors randomly into the dribbled wetness, painting some color into the wet and some on the dry, but leaving some of the dry areas unpainted.
Third: Sponging edges. Use a small piece of natural sea sponge. Wet your sponge and squeeze out the water so that it’s just damp. Dip the edge of the sponge into your green mix and sponge the outside edges of the tree (where the paper is dry) to create a realistic tree shape.
Fourth: While the tree area is still damp, mix burnt sienna with a purple (thalo blue and permanent rose) and paint in some branches. The paint needs to be fairly thick, more actual paint and less water, so it will stay where you put it with only some soft spreading.
Results: This method will leave you with a tree that has lots of random areas, mixes of color, appearing and disappearing branches, hard and soft edges. That may be all you need for a great painting, but next we’ll look at combining these skills with darker values for even more realism.