What do watercolor beginners want to know? What do beginners  need  to know?

I think we all wish to spend a little less, create a little more, and see greater improvements in our work.

That’s at the heart of our watercolor wants.   

So,  what can we do and what do we need to learn in order to make these happen for us?

watercolor beginner basics, tips and techniques for starting watercolours, everything you wanted to know about watercolor, debiriley.com
watercolor beginner basics –  simple easy loose landscapes

 

All Things Watercolor

Its about your selection of the Brushes, the Paints, the Papers.

Choosing the right material to accomplish the task as successfully as possible.

 

Beginners want to know

How To Get Started with Watercolors.

Watercolor Brushes 10 Tips   

A New Brush,   testing….

beginner Watercolor brushes, Hake, Rekab 320s #2, rigger, debiriley.com
Watercolor Brushes

Watercolor  –

Its a whole different ballgame to oils or acrylics.  In those, we are actively trying to ‘cover up’  the support, the canvas surface.

And in oils/acrylics we do, with gusto!

 

impasto Acrylics with palette knife debiriley.com
Buttery super Thick, Impasto Acrylics

 

The trouble comes, switching over to watercolors with that same idea.   That, then becomes a problem.

It creates mud.

Thicker, heavier wc applications aren’t so great. Neither is covering up the entire paper surface with paints, not leaving any white of the paper visible.  This, dulls the painting making it appear tired and over – worked.

Not ‘sparky’ or lively at all!

 

 

Watercolor Paint Colors – Absolute Beginners!

  1. Cobalt blue pb28       2. Permanent Rose pv19       3. Winsor Lemon py175
Watercolor easy color mixing chart, Beginners watercolor mixing, debi riley art, debiriley.com
Watercolor Chart:  Just 3 Tubes = Hundreds of Mixes            debiriley.com ©

 

Just for Beginners –   3 Tubes  to get you started,   its less overwhelming.

Plus, cost is less.

And you get less mud.

And you create a more unified painting.

Win Win!

Simple Greens back to Basics 

Watercolor Browns 

Watercolor Green Leaves 

 

 

Watercolor Tips

Lunar Black Daniel Smith watercolors, Debi Riley art, mixing green, debiriley.com
Colors of the Sea – pigments flow, merging
  • Watercolor likes to be diluted, to run free.
  • Let its pigment particles sink, flow, flare, merge &  To Create!
  • Think along the lines of ….  “WATER -color.”
  • Make the  emphasis on the Water.
  • Allow the Water to be the vehicle, that carries the Color, as it runs, sinks, melts.

 

 

Papers for Watercolor

For well over 25 years, I’ve been a strong advocate (bordering on compulsive?)  of Arches Rough 100% cotton watercolor paper for The Beginners especially.  I’ve written a few posts on Arches paper for beginners.

I still firmly believe the paper itself, is exceptional.

BUT, in Australia, the importation costs of Arches paper has now, in my opinion….  escalated Beyond any justification I can possibly come up with.

 

 (USA  Jerrys online art shop)  Arches 300 gsm paper pack of 10 $54.50

making each sheet  $5.40  – Which is reasonable.

However,  in Australia    ONE  Sheet of Arches 300 gsm   is      $17.50 +

A sheet 22×30 of 640 gsm Arches is   $38.70     

 

Therefore, I’ve changed  my recommendations for watercolor paper. 

 

Saunders   is a very good paper – and is now my Watercolor Paper Recommendation.

impressionist watercolor landscape, simplifying the subject, limited palette, debiriley.com
Impressionist Landscape –   Saunders Watercolor Paper

 

It is absolutely 100% cotton rag  and that is the foremost important consideration.

The Cold Press or the Rough surfaces will work well for beginners.  It will allow for enough lifting and rinsing off mistakes to resolve most faux paux.

 

Fabriano 100% cotton rag Rough is sheer delight for the intermediates, the Soft Press and Hot Press great for intermediates as well.

The Cold Press will be fine for beginners.

Winsor and Newton is a great paper, if you can get your hands on it.

But the Cold Press is a dream, and wonderful for beginners too.

 

Winsor & Newton Cold Press paper watermark Debi Riley
Winsor & Newton cold press paper –    the watermark

 

The book that is my favorite reference guide is  Watercolor Paper Handbook… Werner Mertz

Well worth the trouble of ordering.

Twice,  as it happened in my case.

 

Watercolour Handbook Werner Mertz, debiriley.com
Watercolor Handbook Werner Mertz

 

 

 

My thoughts

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Start off nice and slow;  and easy.
  • Build your skills and techniques,  over time. 
  • Set yourself goals.    Goals…. are good.
  • 1,2, 3, 6, 9 month goals.  1 year  2 years  3 years
  • Look at this progress… that you have made.  Not Sue, not Bob!
  • Find some good spots, in each art work you do. Every time. Its important.   

 

 

 

 

References

Classes. Museums.  Books/magazines.

 

Generally, my first recommendation for Beginners is to take watercolor art classes.

Look for an encouraging, instructor with a like minded philosophy.

Research who is in your area. Make the calls and emails. Check them out in advance.

You’ll want to paint from physically tangible, touchable items.

You learn more and faster this way.

 

Art museums with the Masters would be a second suggestion.

 

Books and magazines. ….  many ‘beginners how to’  don’t meet criteria for accuracy or being adequate.

Using online sources to copy ie   “Pinterest” art –  This is a minefield, for a plethora of reasons.

 

Reference sources need to: teach basics and creative Self expression

If they teach replication, that isn’t truly helping us to fully engage and  ‘learn.’

How then, will the student learn how to design/simplify/create a painting all on their own,  if they’re not shown the basics of how these processes are thought out and done?

 

If the references show a painting with poor tonal values, poor edges, poor center of interest, poor aerial perspective and pass it off as  “ok”  –  How will the Beginning student learn the correct art basics?

 

The Australian Artist magazine,  The Pastel artist magazine,  The International Artist magazine, The Southwest artist magazine typically show high calibre professional work.

They combine the art basics with these critical factors…. Self expression, Creativity, Imagination, Interpretation.

They’re Great places to look and study art techniques. Not copying.

  (Online art Piracy,  is rampant.  Its not ok.

Painters are the same as writers.  A painting is the same as a book.  We… spent our money and our time, creating a product for purchase.)   And yes.  Its happened to me.

 

Tony Smibert …. any of his art books are simply fabulous.

Edward Seago,  we all can learn from him in watercolor and in oils.

 

 

Finally – The Featured Landscape

watercolor beginner basics, tips and techniques for starting watercolours, everything you wanted to know about watercolor, debiriley.com
watercolor loose landscape

My featured watercolor painting, while not perfect, does show some lovely watercolor attributes.

The flow and merging of paint pigments has been allowed to happen, without coercion.

The edges around the borders are so soft and blurred. It creates a calm and leads the eye inwards.

Only 2-3 paints were used. Some warm golden tones in front to infer its nearness. The colder colors receding, into the distance. Provides a sense of depth, even to this semi abstract landscape.

And lastly, the amount of white space was deliberate.

The viewer is now free to interpret the sky and foreground areas as they wish.

Its up to them.

This open ended invitation to the viewers, I think makes art so much more accessible. More Embraceable. Well, for me, it does.

 

 

watercolor landscapes 3 tips  

loose untamed watercolor 

watercolor hills 

 

 

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