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Steps to Exceptional Watercolor Painting

Steps to Exceptional Watercolor Painting

Do you want to know some steps to exceptional watercolor painting?

exceptional watercolor painting - 57 Chevy -

57 Chevy

Becoming an exceptional watercolour artist is attainable.

Good watercolor painting takes into account – colors, paint brushes and watercolor papers.

The quality and types of Watercolor paints are not ordinarily addressed. Artists all over the internet will tell you of their favorite palettes for doing what ‘they’ do.

And they happily show you online their fabulous images and watercolor paintings. But what about what you do?

I won’t call these artists out … it is not sporting. But I will tell you in this article … some palettes use stain colors, others use opaque colors and still more use transparent colors. And the really good ones use all three types… in the same watercolor painting.

The key is knowing when to use these colors as you develop your painting.

Because mud is what you get … when you don’t know the rules of color types and in which order to apply them in your watercolor painting.

So I suggest this fabulous book by Jeanne Dobie. You’ll be glad you did.

When it comes to watercolor painting supplies … beginning watercolor painters tend to ignore watercolor brushes. It’s like an after thought.

But the type and quality of the paint brush … can radically alter the success of your paintings.

Many artists think they are saving money by investing in a generic watercolor brush set.

These generics are little better than a kids paint set.

Little do they know that a generic brush set may in fact be a waste of money. When the bristles start to fall out in your painting, or the ferrule separates from the handle and such. Thank goodness for scotch tape.

And helpful internet artists will tell you about their favorite watercolor paper. From hot press, cold press, bristol board, extra rough, extra smooth etc. etc.

Just because it works for them … will it work for you?

In days past… the art supplies store was the initial point of contact for all these goodies.

But today searching for art supplies online is your best bet.

Should you google ‘online art supplies’ you’ll find over 102 million art sites … offering you deals.

You see when you are in the store you are at the mercy of the sales clerk or the store special for the day with the huge markup or the manager’s special.

Online you search at your leisure and if you are not sure of something you can research it online and then come back… without the sales pressure to buy now.

And so we will take a look at the variety available to you while searching the online art store.

Let’s start with the artist paints you’ll find online.

Dick Blick is a great place to start.

You’ll find the Blick brand, Blockx, Da Vinci, Daler-Rowney, Daniel Smith, Holbein,Lascaux, M Graham, Rembrandt to name just a few brands only a click away from purchase.

And the great news is Dick Blick includes customer comments … such as “The colors were gorgeous but the paint didn’t flow like I’m use to. It just kinda sat there and was rather spotty. Maybe that’s a binder issue. I don’t know but I don’t like that.” And that was about the Dick Blick Brand.

Blockx didn’t fare much better…”I’ve had horrific experience with Blockx watercolors. I consider them to be of the lowest quality around.”

Da Vinci on the other hand… well let’s let the customers speak for themselves…”The high pigment content makes this paint very easy to work with. And satisfying in color intensity. Great for professionals with it’s stability and permanence. Perfect for beginners as it eliminates the frustration of poor quality paints in the way it handles and responds.”

And Daler-Rowney seems to fill a niche…”The colors all work so wonderfully together when mixing.”

Without beating a dead horse…DickBlick Art is a recommended online art store… because of their customer comments. Learn from the experience of others before you buy.

However … we recommend … Holbein and Winsor Newton.

It’s a little trickier when it comes to selecting the best watercolor brushes.

Cheap Joes however is a good place to start.

In this online art store you can search for Kolinsky Sable (considered by many to be the best brush in the world), Natural hair, Goat Hair, Red Sable and many more types.

The online listing includes over 155 brushes that might interest you for your favorite art project.

You’ll find what’s available, the sizes, prices and a quick overview.

Jerry’s Artarama however offers Rhapsody Kolinsky Sable watercolor brushes.

The copy says … “The result is a brush that holds a flawless, split-proof point that is super responsive with great resilience and can hold a large amount of color.”

But the proof comes from artists like you .. with reviews – such as …”When I saw the Rhapsody size 18 Rhapsody Kolinsky sable on sale I took a chance. What a wonderful brush!!! I painted about 90% of a wildlife painting with just that one brush.”

Sometimes – seeing is believing. See what Burning Oak Studio has to say about Raphael Kolinsky Sable.

Not to be outdone … Amazon now offers Raphael Kolinsky sable brushes … with reviews – “Once you go with Raphael Kolinsky sable you’ll never buy another brush!!!”

When it comes to fine art supplies and brushes … we recommend Kolinsky Sable.

Yes … you can purchase off brand synthetic watercolor brushes. From our experience … just buy one of the Kolinsky Sable watercolor brushes, say a … a #5 round sable … and sable will be forever your brush of choice.

Our discussion of watercolor paint supplies would not be complete without mentioning watercolor papers.

Machine-made watercolor papers come in three surfaces: rough, hot-pressed or HP, and cold-pressed.

Rough watercolor paper has a prominent tooth, or textured surface. This creates a grainy effect as pools of water collect in the indentations in the paper.

Hot-pressed watercolor paper has a fine-grained, smooth surface, with almost no tooth. Paint dries very quickly on it. This makes it ideal for large, even washes of color.

Cold-pressed watercolor paper has a slightly textured surface, somewhere in between rough and hot-pressed paper. It’s the paper used most often by watercolor artists.

You really won’t see the difference in your work until you try all three.

Dick Blick art materials comes to your rescue… again.

You’ll find more than 15 brands of fine art watercolor papers available.

When it comes to papers… it is the weight that garners the most discussion.

Some artists swear by 300 lb. watercolour paper.

Jerrys Artarama offers what many consider to be the cadillac of 300 lb papers – Fabriano.

Here’s what some artists have commented …”I love the quality of Fabriano paper for watercolor. I’ve used it for years and it just loves my brushes and paints!”

Our observation is … if you love to work and re-work your paintings … 300 lb. is for you.

But if you love the great outdoors… love to pack up and go or paint plein aire … a watercolor pad or a watercolor paper block might work best for you.

A watercolor paper pad comes in handy when you want to sketch on short notice and take your image back to the studio for final painting.

Strathmore watercolor paper pads are really popular with on-the-go artists.

Because you can flip each page as you go … watercolor pads are perfect if you want to sketch many images of the same subject for final decision in your studio.

Similarly arches watercolor blocks are perfect for the traveling artist.

You’ll notice these papers are available in 300 lb and as 140 lb watercolor paper.

The major difference is … 140 lb paper will not take the abuse of severe lifting or scrubbing that 300 lb watercolour paper can handle.

Blocks are wax sealed papers that you separate with a palette knife after you have done your sketching or painting.

Let’s take a minute to discuss – hot press paper.

Because many artists begin watercolor painting on cold press … without realizing it … they become accustomed to the qualities of cold press as the paint seeps into the paper.

The hot press finish seals the paper against paint penetration.

At first this is uncomfortable for many artists because it is so different in response to the paint.

But the adventurous artist just loves hot press for it’s one major advantage over cold press. Your colors – when dry … are dazzling.

And this is why a newcomer to the papers of choice is finding acceptance.

In the search for dazzling watercolor painting many artists have discovered the yupo watercolor paper.

Yupo or ‘yippy’ as some artists call it can quickly become a source of indigestion because of it’s handling qualities.

You must pick it up by it’s edges or your finger prints will be in your painting.

And don’t angle the paper too sharply on you paint boards as the wet color will flow right off the page … into your lap.

Other than those two major considerations … Yupo is catching on in popularity.

So to wrap up … arches watercolor paper and strathmore paper are really good papers to start off with as they come in the popular weights artists love. And Yupo is something we suggest you try … just to find out what the buzz is all about.

To see these tools in action … click here.

So there you have it – the colors, the brushes, the papers. Now go get ’em tiger.

Author – Mars Burnell