Last week I tried out eight different types of watercolor masking. (That’s liquid stuff you paint on your paper that keeps areas unpainted, so you can put washes around the masked area without worrying about avoiding it.) The results weren’t good.Continue Reading
Are They Transparent or Opaque?
Watercolor paints can be transparent (you can see through the color to the layer below) or opaque (the color covers the layer below so it can’t be seen).
Transparent colors are the best for layering – starting with one wash of color, then adding more washes of color until you build up to the depth of color you want. Transparent colors excel at giving you that beautiful stained-glass-with-a-light-behind-it glow of color in your paintings. They mix well and are user friendly. Some examples: any quinacridone color (golds, reds, browns, purples) and thalo blue (also known as winsor blue and many other names).
- Small – number six synthetic sable with good point for detail and lifting, needs replaced as the point wears off, inexpensive
- Medium – Silver black velvet 3/4″ oval – good point for detail, holds a lot of water, lasts almost forever and is inexpensive
- Large – hake brush for large washes – soft, holds a lot of water, comes in many sizes, inexpensive
- Misc. – sometimes I use a liner or rigger brush for tree branches and a watercolor fan brush for blending
My usual palette (I mix thalo with raw umber violet for black)
- perylene green (sometimes called shadow green)
- thalo blue (also known as winsor blue)
- ultramarine blue
- cobalt blue
- cerulean blue
- cobalt turquoise light (winsor newton brand)
- pyrrole rubin (dark red like alizarin crimson but better)
- quinacridone red
- lemon yellow or aureolin or hansa (transparent or semi transparent yellow)
- quinacridone gold and/or raw sienna
- burnt sienna (sometimes mixed with quinacridone sienna)
- raw umber violet (daniel smith brand)
- transparent pyrrol Orange
Arches 140 lb. natural white cold pressed in 22 x 30″ sheets or Arches watercolor board
Graphite Paper (always get wax free)
Masking – I use pebeo drawing gum because it thins with water
White ink – I use pro white – it works great! Stir it up about once a month so it doesn’t harden
Varnish – Golden Archival Varnish (Mineral Spirit Acrylic Aerosol w/UVLS #7736-X
Spray to neutralize acid from salt – Krylon Make It Acid Free!
With graphite paper, you can easily trace an outline for your painting, but getting and using it can be tricky. Avoid common problems with these tips!
Warning! – Many graphite papers leave harsh black lines that can’t be erased! That’s because they contain wax and the black lines not only repel water but are also permanent. These are unsightly with transparent watercolor.
It’s easier, cheaper and better to make a piece yourself that you can reuse many times.