Watercolor Painting Techniques

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Watercolors are an excellent introductory medium for aspiring creative people looking to add a new colorful dimension to their art pieces. Guide book techniques talk about the different techniques for advanced watercoloring, but the essence of the processes still revolves around control of water and paints. To fully grasp the various techniques, let’s talk about the different techniques used by different artists with a variety of different styles. The following will give the concepts necessary to develop one’s own understanding of watercolors along with some advantages and disadvantages.

Paint’s Affects On Technique

Watercolor paints are generally mediums that will be coupled with water as a vehicle for expression. It should be noted that water paints is a term used by some to denote acrylics and other water based paints, which is entirely different from watercolors. Watercolor paints are sold in dry powder, cake, semi-moist, and liquid forms. Each has its own advantages and limitations.

For most watercolorists, watercolor cakes and semi-moist are the most comfortable to work with. Liquid and powder forms can be challenging to control and do tend to cater more toward highly experienced painters. Techniques such as dry brush are best limited to semi-moist paints.

Paper’s Affect On Technique

The texture of a watercolorist’s paper can be a great advantage if properly understood. Heavy weight papers are used in watercolor painting because of the paper’s ability to hold its shape without wrinkling after becoming wet. As most can guess, thinner papers become delicate and can easily tear if saturated with too much water. If one decides to use paper below the 300 pound size then it is important to stretch the paper by completely soaking it and allowing it to dry flat again before beginning to paint. The decision to stretch the paper will be determined by the paper’s weight and the overall intended size of the painting.

Many assume that when consulting watercolorist techniques they talk about the different techniques about brush control. That is incorrect because watercolorist techniques begin with the tooth of the paper. Tooth is a reference to what type of texture is present on the surface of a piece of paper. A rougher tooth or a particular texture type will affect the finished product by causing irregularities in the way the paint dries. Watercolor paper with no tooth at all can make it more difficult to create any kind of visual texture within the piece. Understanding what textures one would like to include in the finished product should influence one’s selection of tooth.

The Affect of Brushes on Technique

Kolinsky sable hair brushes are thought to be the perfect watercolorist’s brush because they have a soft consistency and offer a durable brush tip with high water retaining properties. They are ideal brushes that will last a long time when properly maintained, but few artists are interested in investing the large sum of money required to purchase a high quality set of Kolinsky sable hair brushes. There are many alternatives that can provide an equal workability at a more economic rate.

When selecting brushes for watercolors, the primary deciding factors should be softness and composition of the hair. While shape and size are important, water guiding techniques of watercolor make the brush shape less significant than with other painting disciplines. Often, watercolors techniques talk about the different techniques of creating layers through brushstrokes but often forget to inform readers about the importance of utilizing appropriate brushes. Synthetic brushes tend to not work best for standard wash and layer techniques, but there are no hard and fast rules. In the end, a watercolorist’s preferences will determine what is correct.

The Application Of Watercolor Paints

Watercolors techniques talk about the different techniques as general guidelines to assisting one in the application of paint in a controlled manner. Planning out a painting to ensure that wet colors do or do not mix on the page in accordance with one’s intentions is critical. A dry color can be reactivated and mix with a new layer if principles of dilution are improperly followed. Generally the discussion of techniques talk about the different ways of applying layers to enhance colors while creating visual texture. As in all paintings, layers are critical to the buildup of color for the perfect subtle finished effect.

Layering techniques talk about the different techniques of applying one wash of color over another wash of color. Watercolors are translucent on the page, so multiple layers will be visible thus creating multiple dimensions to the color of a painting. Watercolorists’ techniques talk about the different techniques of controlling these layers while maintaining the overall ethereal aesthetic of the painting. Composing clear layers or intertwined layers of color is critical to effectively harnessing the qualities of the medium. All painting techniques are rooted in the proper control of layers.

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