I have recently been trying my hand at a little watercolor painting. Since I can’t draw, I have only been able to stamp out images and paint those, but it has been great fun. Needless to say, it has been a vast learning experience, and I’m here to share with you a bit of what I’ve learned so far.
The first thing I learned had to do with paper. I had no idea that you had to use paper and not canvas to paint with watercolor. Then, come to find out, there are all sorts of different weights of paper that people use. You want to use a good, heavy paper, over 250 pounds, or you will have to stretch it. Since I wasn’t sure I was going to get into painting water color, I decided to opt for the good paper and forego the stretching.
But the paper issue isn’t done there. You still need to decide whether to use “cold pressed” or “hot pressed” paper. Cold pressed paper has more “tooth” to it while hot pressed paper is flatter. This makes a great deal of difference in your painting because of how the paint will spread and settle. Cold pressed paper is for painters who use bolder strokes while hot pressed paper is for those who do more detailed work.
Since I was going to be painting stampings, I opted for hot pressed paper. Well, part of what I did was on hot pressed paper. Some of it was on just regular tags I bought at the stationary store and wasn’t even official watercolor paper. But it still worked for the limited use I did.
A friend of mine who does oil painting has long discouraged me from water color painting because he says “water colors are so unforgiving”. Yes, that is true. If you make a mistake it is very difficult to fix it. I found that out on one of my stampings. The shark (see example 1) came out beautiful, but the mermaid not so well. What I could have done, perhaps, was put a piece of paper next to the mistake and tried to soak it up as soon as it happened. But live and learn. This was painted with Luminarte’s (now Dreaming in Color) Twinkling H20 watercolor paint.
The tags were really done with a cheat paint. There are these colored pencils on the market that you draw with and then take a damp brush and voila! Whatever you colored turns into water color. It rather reminds me of the color book pages where the child takes the watered brush and “paints” a picture. Of course, it is much more technical than that because you can do shading with these pencils. Notice the shading I did with these tags.
I doubt I’ll become the great water color artist, but it is great fun. The biggest thing I’ve learned in this endeavor is to use a damp, not wet, brush. This helps in controlling the paint and as anyone who has tried water color painting knows, controlling the paint is the biggest problem. It just spreads so much as so quickly!
Water color painting is great fun – enjoy!