Water will always find a way. A way of it's own, not a way that is prefferable to me, sadly. It makes you lose control but when you respect it and make a pact with yourself to appreciate it for what it is, results can be surprising.
It's been eight years since I stopped my depressing oil texture experiments and tried watercolor. I haven't let it go since. We had our differences - being self-taught, some very obvious truths about watercolor painting came to me slowly, it took ages and I was very impatient. From time to time I tried oils, acrylics or plain drawing but nothing was quite as rewarding as watercolor. It is the technique-love of my life
During Christmas, I had this project on my mind, to write regular blogs about watercolor again. I haven't been a good contributor to DA for about 3 years now. During those years, I got divorced from one unhappy relationship and found a very happy one instead. With new love (two years now) we bought a new home, than I completely lost my nerves during it's renovation
. Job is a different subject that is ruling my whole universe these days, but I will throw that at you in some different journal
As a result of this wishful thinking, I am introducing a series of tutorial journals called "Becoming watercolorist"
. I will, week by week, introduce techniques and exercises I have learned over the years and use in my paintings. Maybe this journey will be your way of becoming a watercolorist yourself. Maybe it will also be my own journey of becoming a successful freelancer, finally.
Learning to paint washes in one of the basic techniques used in watercolor painting. As a child, I loved to draw a princess, underneath her there was a field of grass (as a rule) and above her there was a sun (often sort of pinned on her crown). Lastly I made a blue background with pencil. When creating watercolor painting, we usually start with the background. If I tried to paint it last, I would have probably ruined my princess's crown details
Background of the painting can play a big role in the outcome and overall impression. It sets the mood, creates atmosphere and defines lightning situation. It can be playfuly lose or even and undisturbed. Sometimes the background turns into foreground and is the very subject of the painting, especially when we like to experiment with abstract. When you master painting washes, you have one powerful technique at your disposal.
If you are still undecided whether to try this watercolor adventure or not, I will try to sell it with my assuring, that these techniques can be mastered by anyone. Painting with watercolor is very calming, relaxing and with a little patience even rewarding experiences. All you need to do is to check out my journal every Tuesday and try out a new exercise
Prepare a larger watercolor paper, make it at least 300 gsm. You will also need a mount and a painters tape. Mount the paper with the tape, than divide it into smaller compartments. You will also need one wider watercolor brush, two cups of water and watercolor paints. I prefer pans but you are free to use whatever type you find. Two colors will do. Oh, don't forget paper tissues, those need to be ready to save the painting if there is an unwanted watery accident.NOTE
- A very detailed article about WATERCOLOR EQUIPMENT
will tell you more about the materials to use.WORKING HABITS
- Put your mounted paper into angled position. Water will run down a bit, which helps to achieve even washes. Always use two cups of water when you can. One cup needs to stay absolutely clean, otherwise you will get muddy colors. Don't try to achieve bright yellow when using dirty water.
Prepare your paint, let's try to make an even wash first. We want to make it transparent and bright. Let's start with brush strokes one after another, starting from the top of each compartment, going towards bottom. Each stroke should touch the previous one, so that the water can run down through them and make the wash even. Try this with different colors and remember, your goal is to achieve uniform result.WORKING HABITS
- Most beginners or painters used to acrylics or oil don't know what I mean, when I say "prepare paint". They are used to paste type of paint and they don't add enough water, this affects the whole painting that often seems heavy and forced. Prepare paint by using little quality pigment and really significant amount of water. Make a pool on your palette. When there is a pool, you have it right WORKING HABITS
- Always keep your tissue in the other hand, prepared. You get only a few seconds to get rid of unwanted splash. This habit saved my paintings many times.
"FADE OUT" WASH
Let's try a different type of wash. Not even, but fading out to clean water. Start with a paint, than add more water with each stroke, until you reach the other edge with just clean water. It's an interesting type of background, when using this wash. It suggests perspective, horizont, or lighter air. This will be rewarding when painting scenery.
This is a bit challenging exercise but I believe in you
Choose two colors, best those that are compementary, can be mixed together into third color. Such as red and blue. Start with one color and gradually fade into another. The safest way to do this is to make your mounted paper horizontal again, start with each color simultaneously on both ends and than meet them in the middle. Most important condition for them mixing in the middle is having enough water and pigment in that area, otherwise each stroke dries as you painted it, leaving marks and breaking uniformity of the wash.
Chapter 2, Basic textures - next Tuesday, 23.1.2018
Let me know how it went
Check out my POLL
about most common watercolor problems and let me know which one applies to you