Watercolor painting is a very exciting medium. It’s easy to get started. All you really need is some paint, a few brushes, some water and paper and you are good to go. It is one of the most convenient painting mediums in existence to day. It is no wonder why it is such a popular option for beginners. Of course, you are going to need some advice and direction in order to get started, so I put together this post that covers some of the more basic watercolor techniques.
I have also included several excellent videos that demonstration watercolor painting techniques below. Enjoy!
Basic Watercolor Techniques
Flat Wash Technique
The flat wash painting method is a common one. This technique is usually used when large areas of your support need to be covered. It is important to lay out the watercolor wash evenly and uniformly. First, you dampen the area of your paper where you will be applying the wash. Be sure to have an adequate amount of water and pigment available before your begin. If you should have to stop for any reason, it will be rather difficult to match your layers. It is better to have more than less available. The angle at which you apply the watercolor wash is important. If the angle is too steep your wash will run down the paper. If the angle is too level, then there won’t have enough movement. Use a large brush for this technique and start your first stroke at the top of the paper. Continue applying the watercolor wash going down the paper, but alternate sides as you move down.
Glazing in watercolor is when you apply a thin transparent color over a completed dry layer of color. This technique creates unique and interesting blends of new color. You will need to use a non-staining, transparent color for this watercolor technique. You will need to use a soft brush and try not too apply that much pressure.
Wet In Wet
Wet in wet is simply applying a wet wash over a wet surface. You start by evenly wetting the paper with a brush or spray bottle. Have a sponge handy to absorb any excess water. You want your paper to be evenly saturated. Then apply your watercolor.
With the dry brush technique, you begin with a dry piece of paper. Then pick up some dry pigment with just a touch of water and apply to your paper.
The dry brush method is only recommended when you want to draw focus or create texture in your painting. It’s always a good idea to use different brush techniques in a single painting. This results in a more interesting painting.
Artists use this technique when they want to remove watercolor from a certain area of the panting. It is usually done by first wetting the area that needs to be removed with a clean sponge and then absorb the color with a tissue. If you find that the color does not come off right away, then let the water soak in a bit longer and try again. If you still are unable to remove the color, dampen a bristle brush and gently scrub the area. Use extreme care when utilizing this method as it is possible to damage your paper.
Watercolor Painting Videos
Painting a Flat Wash in Watercolor
How to paint a flat wash in watercolor. Artist Debbie Johnson demonstrates her technique of a flat wash – to lay down a flat, even area of color with watercolor.
How to Stretch Your Paper
Here is an old method for stretching paper that also prevents hard edges.
Watercolor Dry Brush Painting
A dry brush technique in watercolor painting uses very little water. Learn how to paint with a dry brush in this free art lesson video.
Watercolor Salt Technique
Demonstration of salt application on watercolor paper.
Soft Focus Watercolor Techniques
Learn techniques to create beautiful, soft-focus watercolor paintings on damp paper. Techniques include positive painting, negative painting, lifting, and using gouache. Presented by Elizabeth Flue
Recommended Watercolor Painting DVD’s
If you aren’t a big fan of learning from books, then I highly recommend you check out the following watercolor painting dvd’s from Creative Catalyst Productions. Creative Catalyst produces some of the highest quality DVD’s in the world and well worth every penny. I recommend Creative Catalyst throughout my website and in my newsletters and stand by them 100 %. Click the links below to see the pricing & ordering details for each video, including free previews.
The Traditional Watercolor Approach by Cheng-Khee Chee, Vol.2
Saturated Wet Technique by Cheng-Khee Chee, Vol.3
Improvisational Splash Color Technique by Cheng-Khee Chee, Vol.4
Crinkling Paper Technique by Cheng-Khee Chee, Vol.5
Marbleizing and Monoprinting Techniques by Cheng-Khee Chee, Vol.6
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