I want to share something I have discovered to be really helpful for applying masking fluid to my watercolor paper to retain whites. These shapers are perfect for those especially small details you re trying to save white. Like the white fleck of reflection in the pupil of an eye. Tiny wisps of hair to be saved white or painted later in a light color. Or I often use it for small fence posts, muttons on windows or spattering the masking fluid. Another tip to note is that it is important to use masking fluid that has not begun to get thick. Here is a link to Jerry’s Artarama art supplies as a place to purchase these shapers
I have some basic supplies I I recommend for watercolor painting.
The most important tool is excellent quality paper. Do not use student grade paper even though you are a student! The paper does not react well with watercolor techniques which can lead to frustration, not typical results and poor habits in technique. You are not doing yourself any favors by buying student grade paper!
Please use “Arches” brand watercolor paper. My most commonly used weight is 140# cold press. It comes in a 90# and a 300# as well. The hot press is smooth. I prefer the bit of texture/tooth in the cold press. They also make a rough texture which is even more tooth. Along with this paper I like to use “Cheap Joe’s” , goof proof, watercolor notecard sets for creating notecards. By the way Cheap Joe’s online store is a fantastic economical place to buy art supplies. They also have learning videos and tips on their resources link on their site.
Next up is paint. For starters, use the “prang” double set. I do not recommend using the white or the back that are in the set though. I have much more to say about paint and if your wanting more details go “here” for much more details about paint.
Paintbrushes. Use any brush that is recommended for use with watercolors. Synthetic, natural hair or a blend is fine. I like a large round (12) and a more detail round (6 or 8) and then a flat brush in 1/2″ and 1″ A few other helpful brushes to have on hand to lift our some “mistakes” are a set of scrubber brushes. (try to use these as a last resort as they can tear up your paper)
I tape down my watercolor paper to foam core board, using inexpensive masking tape.
masking fluid is another helpful tool to retain the whites of the paper in detail areas.
Please let me know if you have any questions about these supplies.
the basic supplies in list form:
Arches brand watercolor paper
watercolor paintbrushes large round (12-14)and small round (8-10). 1/2″ flat and 1″ flat
Blue Chaco transfer paper is a tool I have discovered for watercolor painting. It is a tracing paper that leaves a blue line that disappears when it becomes wet. This is ideal when I don’t want to leave a visable “outline” to my painting. I have this a supply to bring to some of my classes. I especially use it when I am aiming for correct perspective or likeness to my reference photo. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You can find it at our local art supply store, The Art Location located at 1905 E. Mission Blvd. in Fayetteville Ar. or you can order it online through a google search.
“What colors do you use?” This was a question I was asked in my class this week and is a question often asked to artists. I too love to know what colors/brands other artists use in their palettes and why.
I will answer from my experience. This is what I know thus far, I still have much to learn about paints and colors. My current palette is not necessarily the “right” way to set up your palette. It is a personal preference and I encourage you to try out different colors and brands to find what excites you.
What brand? Any professional grade paint is a good choice. Here is a list of some brands of professional grade watercolors. For greater depth in the differences between them, read this.
Windsor and Newton
Not all colors look the same in different brands. You may find you prefer ultra marine blue in the Windsor and Newton brand as opposed to M Graham brand. While your favorite lemon yellow may be in the Holbein line of paints. My palette is mostly Windsor and Newton. I have not tried all the brands, I have landed on Windsor and Newton, especially their burnt sienna and have stayed pretty brand loyal to them. However I plan to experiment with more brands to discover the differences between them for myself.
A good color plan to recreate in your palette is to have a warm and a cool in each of the primary colors. A note about warm and cool colors. Not all yellows are warm and not all blues are cool. As with all colors there is a warm version and a cool version. Even in blacks you can have a warm black and a cool black. I encourage you to do some research on this and make a color journal with your paints. Make notes about the brand, color, temperature, transparency, staining etc. Mix different combinations and log the colors and the actual paint swatches in your journal (use a watercolor paper journal).
Warm color appears to move forward while cooler colors recede into the background. That’s why when painting a landscape it translates reality to use warm colors in the foreground then move to cooler colors and lighter values (meaning more water) in the background. If a subject is mostly warm, use a cool shadow, if your subject is mostly cool then use a warm shadow. If you want the most brilliant color results you need to mix cool colors with cool colors and warm colors with warm colors. Keep in mind there are areas in your painting where you may not want it to be the most brilliant.
Here is a list of paints and their temperature:
Cadmium Yellow Pale, New Gamboge, Cadmium Yellow, Winsor Yellow Deep, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Winsor Orange, Winsor Orange (Red Shade). Cadmium Scarlet, Scarlet Lake, Cadmium Red, Winsor Red, Rose Doré, Quinacridone Red, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Violet, Permanent Mauve, Winsor Violet (Dioxazine), Cobalt Blue Deep, French Ultramarine, Ultramarine, (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cerulean Blue (Red Shade), Winsor Green (Yellow Shade), Yellow Ochre, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Brown Ochre, Magnesium Brown, Burnt Sienna, Light Red, Venetian Red, Brown Madder, Perylene Maroon, Perylene Violet, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown, Sepia
Lemon Yellow, (Nickel Titanate), Bismuth Yellow, Cadmium Lemon, Winsor Lemon, Lemon Yellow Deep, Transparent Yellow, Winsor Red Deep, Permanent Alizarin, Crimson, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Carmine, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Indanthrene Blue, Cobalt Blue, Antwerp Blue, Prussian Blue, Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green, (Blue Shade), Terre Verte, Perylene Green, Permanent Sap Green, Olive Green, Terre Verte (Yellow Shade), Green Gold, Raw Sienna, Indian Yellow
For more details about colors/paint descriptions from Keene Wilson go here,… a great reference on color for certain subjects, transparency, staining etc…
This is my current palette. It does get tweaked every now and then however I will list my colors in order of preference.
Sap Green or Hookers Green
Transparent yellow – Aureolin – Lemon yellow
I like to label my palette with the color information on medical tape (can handle getting wet). The tape can be easily removed if and when I change colors in the well. Some colors I have not put all the information about temperature, transparency or brand as I have either run out of room or I have not found out yet.
I would love to hear about what you have learned in your own journey with watercolor paints.
I use different size and shape natural sea sponges to recreate foliage in my paintings. Dipping the sponge in the paint and “stamping” the sponge onto the paper in a random pattern really depicts leaves well. I like using different shades of green to give the trees depth. Wildflowers and cherry blossoms are also a subject to represent with natural sea sponges. Here is a link to a youtube video giving an example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzFQZQqL7dw
and then below is one of my recent commissions with sponged trees…
Anyone else have a Cricut machine? What are you using it for? art.by.beth business bought one recently and is playing around with ideas. A few ideas and uses so far are cutting up photos into letters and making notecards out of them. Cutting out quotes to use on “word collages” (this weeks continued theme in our collage class) I haven’t seemed to have figured out how to cut cardstock as well as photos or how to cut several at ne time. I need a cricut tutor to come over.