Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Watercolor Tutorials Overview

Betty, this one's for you.  Over at the WoodFairy blog, Betty got me back into painting on silk. She had asked for a tutorial on watercolor techniques, so I will gladly oblige.  This may be a bit tedious, so we shall see how it goes.

Not only will there be one, but there will also be several tutorials focusing on using watercolor paints on 140 lb. watercolor paper.  I will add each lesson on the sidebar as they progress and time allows.

Tutorial Outline
  • Materials needed: watercolors, at least 140 lb. watercolor paper, brushes, water, ruler, palette knives, miskit, cloth or paper rags to start.  Paint tubes of watercolors are available in hundred of colors.  They will last years and it takes just a dab of color on a palette.  When the paint dries, just add a wet brush and the lively shades reappear on the brush.  Sable brushes are best, but brush prices vary, so just be sure you have a half dozen brushes in various sizes that are dedicated to watercolors and have no oil or acrylic residue left in the hairs.
But I am getting carried away.  (an entire lesson on just materials to follow)
  • 2.  Material preparation, including soaking of water, wet on wet, wet on dry, etc.  (another lesson)
  • 3.  Choosing your subject  ... the less lines the better as we start off.  Perhaps you might choose a coloring book picture to replicate.
  • 4.  Drawing in the subject you will be painting in pencil...pencil marks will be erased after color is applied. (another lesson on using the grid method for ease in replication of drawing in a picture if you are not painting from a still life)  And using the internet to check accuracy of completing subjects drawn ( ...i.e., porcine feet)
  • 5.  Using miskit barriers (another lesson)
  • 6.  Choosing your palette colors.  Look to the great artists and determine the colors they use in a painting that you are particularly drawn to.  An example below highlights colors I like with pinks, purples, yellows, whites, greens, and blues.  How many shades of just green can you count?
source (Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939)The Garden in June 1911)

 ...and then creating your own palette from the colors you have acquired (another lesson)

(the palette I made and use)
  • 7.  Painting, shading, backgrounds, salt preparation for backgrounds
  • 8.  Finishing techniques
There are probably more parts that will be added later.  Stay tuned!  And if you would care to view a few of my watercolors, they are displayed here.


  1. What wonderful tutorials you are providing here ~ Love your blog ~ thanks, ^_^

  2. Oh my goodness, that's a lot to learn:). I will just enjoy your talents! Have a blessed day dear friend! Hugs

  3. Gosh I didn't expect so much! thankyou Nancy. I will have a proper read later on when it's quiet (youngest boy just called to say he is miles away with a punctured bike so I have to go and find him - he is somewhere on an overgrown towpath with friends - could be anywhere and not even sure if a car can get to it, lol.)

  4. I would have never thought to pencil a drawing before watercoloring it. Great tip!

  5. this is all great ifo thanks so much for all you put into this I will deff fav this for future painting teqnigues

  6. Wow Nancy, this is great. You are so talented.

    I have to mention your new header, my goodness. Gorgeous doesn`t do it justice. It`s beautiful!

  7. Right just been back for a proper read - thankyou so much for taking the time to do this. I have everything to learn and know nothing! you rub the pencil outline out - didn't know! By the way I too love your background and header - it's really pretty.

  8. Oh, I am excited! I have just started working with watercolor in my art class after having given it up years ago. So far, I'm really enjoying the medium (much more than back in college Intro to Painting class), but my technique needs lots of practice.


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