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Old 05-29-2012, 06:00 PM
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ElizaLeahy ElizaLeahy is offline
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WC "newbie" mistakes?

I'm afraid of making a mistake that labels my work "total beginner". So - can we make a thread of newbie mistakes and how to avoid them?

The obvious one to start with would be not keeping areas of your paper white. Not only the white, but other pale colours too. I look and think "drat it! That bit shouldn't have paint on it!

More?
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:23 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is online now
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

EL, don't be afraid! Thinking that you must leave areas of white is a mistake! It just depends on one's painterly intent...

A list of mistakes, newbie or otherwise, is endless (and perhaps pointless in watercolor, where the water has a mind of its own), IMO. There's an old saying in watercolor: just take what the paint and the paper will give you!

Painting is one of those endeavors where, often times, the best and most enduring learning is by doing. By the time each of has painted 1,000 paintings or so, things begin to settle down and make some sense--except when the water decides to humble us! It's not called watercolor for nothing you know.

Keep painting, and
Sling paint!
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:32 PM
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ElizaLeahy ElizaLeahy is offline
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

I'm not afraid to paint. I have been painting. I thought this would be an interesting topic and would help people (ie - me!) from making mistakes that were unnecessary.

We can talk about it, can't we?
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:40 PM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

What I like, with painting with watercolor, or actually doing anything crafty, is how what you "think" is a mistake, later on makes the painting wonderful. I am a newbie too...only been painting for about 2 mons. now, and I honestly don't feel there are really "real" mistakes, especially if one learns from what they did or didn't do. I'm not sure I could list all the ones I thought I had made. Too many to count. LOL
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:40 PM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

Hi, Eliza! Yep, keeping that paper white...for some folks it seems to come naturally, other folks (like ME!) have to have it knocked into their stubborn heads. But, all is not lost...if you realize your mistake right away, and you have that lovely piece of paper toweling in hand, you can just blot the wet paint, and unless it is a thalo or another very staining paint, it should lift almost white again....when the paint is dry, you can use a a wet brush to first soften the paint and then gently blot...or, in the most extreme, use a scrubber brush and paper toweling to lift the paint (but the paint will never adhere right to the roughly scrubbed area)...and of course, the razor blade or exacto knife to scrape some white again! AND, to avoid all that, a little masking fluid at the beginning!

I believe it is more difficult for folks who use or have used other mediums to learn to reserve the white (for me it was pastels): when you are used to adding a white highlight or adding "light" to your painting, you just add it on top and VOILA!

With some folks it comes so naturally! Other folks have to carefully plan! Some folks just want to go wherever the flow of paint leads them! If you lose a white, don't despair...If nothing else, you can reexamine the painting and decide if it can go in another direction without the white!

Time, Patience and Practice! So simple

Margarete
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:10 PM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

Hi Eliza... firstly, I'm not a fan of the word "mistakes"... primarily because we can work around most things that don't turn out the way we expected...

But... these challenges are not exclusive to Newbies!

Recently, I painted a dyptich of red onions and garlic. When I started the second of the two pieces, I painted my onion too dark too soon... my colour was staining, so it didn't lift easily... With a lot of patience, and a lot of time and a lot of water and a lot of paper towelling, I finally lifted enough colour that I could continue on...

Margarete, if you've scrubbed (something I absolutely never do), and your paper has become abraded, you can recover somewhat.
  • Firstly, when you have finished scrubbing, allow your paper to dry thoroughly.
  • Then, using a piece of brown paper (from a lunch bag for instance), gently rub the area in a circular motion. The brown paper will "sand" off all the fuzzy bits.
  • Finally, using the back of large stainless steel spoon, burnish that area using a gentle circular rubbing motion.
You won't be able to paint fine details in that scrubbed area and your washes will still behave a little differently. But the surface of your paper will look pretty good.

As to the scrubbing... my refusal to scrub out anything is self imposed... and it forces me to plan my composition, my palette and my values...

There sill always be times, realistically, when scrubbing is a must in order to "save" a painting... buy a proxa brush (a tooth cleaning tool) which is much gentler on your paper...

Now... the biggest and only mistake you'll ever make is NOT to paint!
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:48 PM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

When I was in middle school art class, I turned in a painting (acrylic or oil, don't remember) of a sunset with a palm tree. The teacher pointed out that there was orange on the tree trunk, and I realized with horror that my brown paint wasn't thick enough to hide the sky, and quickly blurted out, "Oh! That was a mistake!" She disagreed and said that any tree trunk would have orange on it from the bright sunset, and that it was the best part of the painting.

So I submit that the biggest mistake ever is not stopping to think when things don't go as planned, considering whether there could be any value in that change of direction. "Different" is not necessarily "wrong" just because it doesn't match the master vision in our heads!
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:53 AM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

I think the list would be endless. My bete noir is going into the sky before it is dry.

Doug
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:15 AM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

Another is to use the colours straight from the pan. While that is fine in some situations, if you have a limited set and are doing something like a landscape the greens can be much too bright and primary.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:29 AM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

These "tips" all have to do with composition problems newbies may not think about.

*When you have a feature such as a person or an animal or even a vehicle, have them entering the scene rather than pointing out of it.

*As to whites — don't place a white area or spot along the edges of your composition. Human eyes are drawn to white before the other colors, so if you have white along the edge of your painting, viewers will look there first and may not bother looking at the rest of it.

*Features such as roads or walls or fences shouldn't go directly to one of the corners of the paper. Have them go off or enter the scene above or below the corner instead.

Sylvia
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:32 AM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

For me, watercolour painting is just like playing golf. I never make mistakes, I just have to surpass the challenges.

And do I struggle with both...
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:56 AM
claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is online now
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

Weak value plans, yeilding wishy-washy watercolours. Cause: timidity
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:11 AM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

For me, the biggest thing has been holding back on the color, being afraid to go a little darker, and also a huge regret for me was buying student grade paints instead of going ahead and getting the artist quality.
There are a few threads in the Handbook that might be helpful for you:

Beginners Questions

Basic Questions

Top 20 Watercolor Questions
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:17 AM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

Hello, CharM! I also do not scrub...If I have to lighten a color, a gentle wiping down with a brush and then a towel is for me! I never ever scrub...I've experimented with it, but do not like it at all! So, I'm 100% with you! Your tip about recovering the paper after scrubbing is wonderful! Paper regains its strength when it dries...and until it dries, it is more vulnerable to damage.

A lot of folks new to watercolor don't know that you can also "scrub" a little when you lay down paint...don't take your paint and go over and over and over your first application while it is still wet! Get a larger brush if need be. Use a thicker mixture if need be. Layer your paint (more paint on already dry paint) if need be. But don't keep moving your brush back and forth, over and over again...

It IS okay to "drop in" more paint when your paint is still wet...put a little thicker mixture of paint and LESS water than is already there on the paper and touch your brush to the area..either the same color but MOSTLY and more FUN is a different color. I call it melting the colors together, other folks call it mingling, but whatever one calls it, it is beautiful! Something more to experiment with!

Margarete
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:58 PM
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Re: WC "newbie" mistakes?

One real mistake that I made once was to leave masking fluid on the paper too long. It dried and I couldn't pull it off. Since the mask was for some long grasses in front of an old car and the grasses were frosted with a Hoar's frost, I simply painted white gouache over the mask and was able to save the painting.

Tom
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