How to stretch watercolor paper

What does it mean to stretch watercolor paper? Why and how would you do it?

The main reason people stretch their watercolor paper, is because when it gets wet, as you paint, it expands creating cockles or wrinkles. These can make painting difficult for some people. By stretching your paper, the cockles are greatly reduced or removed completely. Whether or not you stretch your paper depends a lot on your skill level. Also, the type of painting you are doing may determine whether to stretch or not. Continue reading “How to stretch watercolor paper”

Under-painting in watercolor, its importance

When painting with watercolors in my style, the under-painting (initial wash), is very important as it holds a painting together. The under-painting must be tonally correct or the painting will never look quite right.

When I am painting a landscape, at the under-painting stage, the scene should already look like a landscape. The sky and ground should be obvious. In this way, all I need to then do is add the objects that sit on the ground. Continue reading “Under-painting in watercolor, its importance”

How to mix greens using watercolors

One of the questions I am most frequently asked by my students has to do with how to mix greens. No other color generates as much confusion regarding how it is mixed. Green is produced when you mix blue with yellow. However, as most blue and yellow pigments are not pure colors i.e. they contain a little of a second or third primary (red, yellow or blue) color, there is a tremendous range of pigments which can be used, in combination, to produce a green. I think this may be one of the reason artists can have trouble mixing it. Continue reading “How to mix greens using watercolors”

Plein air painting lesson – Changing light

I recently went on a 5-day plein air painting trip to the town of Tumut in NSW. The weather was perfect, with the main challenge being the changing light. Unlike most other places in New South Wales, where evergreen trees predominate, around the Tumut region, there are plenty of deciduous trees which add lots of Autumn colors – hence the reason for my visit. Continue reading “Plein air painting lesson – Changing light”

How to use photos for painting

Most artists use photos for painting at some point in their career. For some, they are the only reference they use, while for others they are rarely used. If you are going to be working from photos, there are a few things you need to be aware of if you want your artworks to succeed. Continue reading “How to use photos for painting”