Blog #17 The Wonders Of Watercolours

‘Prickly Pear Cactus’ Framed 31″x24″

Though I so enjoy painting with acrylic paints my first and true love is working with watercolours. Their bright brilliant colours are spectacular to use right from the tube and when they are mixed together, wow! I like to use a limited palette of colours starting with the primaries; a triad of a red, a blue and a yellow. My absolute favourite triad of colours are permanent rose, cobalt blue and aureolin yellow. These three colours sparkle when mixed together and can give you a myriad of juicy colour options, your greens, oranges, purples. There is an instant harmony in your painting when you work this way.

‘Berries’ Matted and Framed 17″x23″

When the need dictates and I want some earth tones in my painting I will often use burnt sienna, burnt umber and ochre. I don’t ever use black paint but prefer to mix my ‘darks’. I was taught that premixed black paint from a tube can create a dead hole in your painting. When you create your own darks from the colours you are already using in your painting it marries better with the over all impact. I don’t use white paint either choosing to use the white of the paper instead.

You also have 3 ways to approach creating colours. 1) mix your two primary colours as in a red and a yellow together in a small dish with lots of water to create a puddle of your secondary colour orange. Or 2) wet your paper with clean water and drop in your two primary colours into that wet area and let them mix together there to create your secondary colour. Or lastly 3) paint one of your primary colours onto your dry paper let it dry and then add a layer of the other primary colour over the first. Yellow layered over red will create an orange! Each approach will give you a different effect but you will achieve a lovely orange colour with each one.

‘Tropical Delight’ Matted and Framed 23″x29″

There are so many options and approaches when choosing the techniques you might use when painting with watercolours. Like wetting your watercolour paper first, then launching puddles of colours onto the paper and letting it move across and shift about as you tip your painting. Sunset skies and soft backgrounds can be achieved in this way. Or layering multiple washes of colour can bring depth and intensity of hue into your painting. Each layer is allowed to dry before the next wash is added overtop. The watercolour paints I use are transparent so they show through each other. There is also the perks of working on dry paper. You can then get the accuracy you may need because the paint will stay exactly where you put it down without creeping or bleeding. Speaking of paper I prefer to use Arches 140lb cold pressed 100% cotton paper. There is a bit of tooth and texture to it that I rely on to carry my paint the way I want it to. I hope that you might now feel inspired to play with watercolours and enjoy all the magic they bring to painting!

To see these and more original paintings please go to my acrylic and watercolour galleries on this website.