View Full Version : Watercolour help please

07-15-2000, 07:02 AM
I am struggling to paint a half decent watercolour painting,I just don't seem to be able to get my colours to look fresh and transparent. Could anyonw please give me some tips.


07-15-2000, 08:06 AM
Hi Geraldine, Welcome to wetcanvas,
Difficult to answer without more details, could be the type of paper you are using.
There are several lessons and tips at wetcanvas which should help,have a look here,
P.S See you are from the old country, came from Southampton myself .

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

07-15-2000, 03:15 PM
Besides good paper - a must - are you using lots of water? At first it was hard for me to make the paint fluid enough. How about posting a sample?

07-15-2000, 05:31 PM
Great idea Geraldine, if you could post one of your paintings we could help more with your problem, to upload image go to critique center,

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

07-16-2000, 07:50 PM
Geraldine, I'm no expert!!! lol...in fact I know most of nothing about watercolor. But I have learned that if I allow my first color to really dry before applying a second color or glaze...the colors will stay richer and more intense. You can see this in the yellow iris I posted. The reds on the petals were applied after the yellows had dried completely.

The other thing I know (and this is true of all mediums) is that when you mix complementary colors...you will get a grayed tone. This is great if you want to tone down an intense color...but not if you want to maintain an intensity and build on it.

Please post something you've painted...this will help everyone to see the areas you are wanting to work on. Watercolors are not my regular medium to work with so I am learning from everyone here in the forums.

07-17-2000, 03:54 AM
you can find sone suggestion on the topic "watercolor palette" of the last june, 8th, where we discussed on the colors we use and the characteristics.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif hope to be helpful, cioa

Lynda Mortensen
07-17-2000, 02:56 PM
Hi there!

Could be several things: To get transparent, luminous watercolours you need to be using:
1. Good paints - you're in the UK, so Winsor and Newton or Rowney would be the most commonly available. In my experience at running a small art club I have seen a lot of beginners trying to paint with childrens paints, which are so full of 'filler' that they become opaque.

2. If you are already using good paints, then the next thing to check is the paper. Proper watercolour paper is 'sized' which means that it has a coating of size applied to it which makes it resist the water slightly. This means that instead of the watery paint soaking into the paper, it lies on the surface and dries to a thin film there. Light beams travel through the layer of paint, bounce off the surface of the paper, then travel BACK UP through the layer of paint - this is what makes watercolours appear so luminous, they are literally lit from behind! If you are using cartridge paper, or any other unsized paper then the paint will sink into the fibres and you won't get the right transparency or luminosity. Look for 'Bockingford' or 'Cotman' brands of watercolour paper (they are student quality so not expensive, but are both very good - I absolutely love Bockingford 'Rough' paper!).

3. If both paper and paints are OK, then you need to look at wetness of the paint and colour mixing. A very general rule of thumb is to never mix more than 3 colours together, preferably only mix 2. The more colours you mix together, the more 'muddy' the result will be. Black and White are both very opaque colours and therefore if you use these in your mixes you will make the mix opaque too. Most 'pure' watercolourists very rarely, if ever, use either black or white. The wetness of the paint adds to the transparency also - mix up big puddles of paint in your palette (use an eye-dropper or pipette as a convenient way to add enough water to your palette first), really soak the brush in it and apply a 'puddle of paint' to the area you wish to colour - then just move the puddle around with the brush to cover the area required. If, after you've done this, you think that the area is too wet (i.e. if you get a puddle of paint forming at the bottom of the area), then simply rinse your brush, dry it on a tissue, and hold the point in the puddle to 'hoover up' the excess paint.

Hope this helps! Lynda

[This message has been edited by Lynda Coles (edited July 17, 2000).]