Questions about watercolor and gouache:
1. Do you paint in one color first so the colors don't mix on the paper, and you wait for it to dry. Then paint the same piece again tomorrow or an hour later? I usually start with a transparent wash and the paper gets wet, so painting it again will draw the paint towards areas with water and they mix without premeditation. Or maybe I am using too much water (I am still learning the consistency of paint mixing).
2. Does it matter what lighting condition or setting you paint in, or do you need specific lighting to improve faster?
3. What is the occasion to be doing master studies of paintings?
And I already have the book Color and Light by James Gurney.
Last edited by Vay; June 24th, 2011 at 07:38 AM.
1. Painting transparant layers with drying time in between is called "glazing". Painting into still wet paint is called "wet in wet". Both techniques are commonly practiced, and each produces different results. Which you use depends on what effects you are trying to achieve.
2. Strong one-directional lighting is usually preferred, especially for beginners, as it makes it easier to separate the light and shadow sides of your subject. As you progress in your understanding of the subtleties of light, experiment with different setups involving secondary sources.
3. Do master studies for practice, to gain insight into the master's working techniques and methods, to study composition, or simply to be inspired.
As the ego shrinks, so the spirit expands.
1. You could, or couldn't. Wet into wet and wet into dry are both techniques used for watercolors. Putting new coats of watercolor over dry paint lets you layer colors and create optical mixes of the color, while wet into wet lets you blend colors together; and with the unpredictability of the paint flowing into the water you can get some strange, delightful results. If you do wet into wet, you can get gradations really easily, not so much with wet into dry.
And you don't have to wait until the next day to keep painting. If it's dry to the touch, then you can do wet into dry. I usually have to wait roughly 30-45 minutes between layers, sometimes a bit longer if I thoroughly soaked the paper (like to do a sky gradation.)
2. Specific lighting won't help you improve faster. That's what mileage is for. But some things to keep in mind:
-indirect daylight, or "North light" (if you're in a studio) is usually ideal. It's even lighting, and doesn't push the colors too far in one way or the other.
-Direct sunlight is fine, but it's a little hard on the eyes for me - I have to contend with a white paper reflecting light back at me, it's just added difficulty. (If you want to paint your subject in direct sunlight, just make sure you're stuff is in indirect light. A white umbrella helps with this.)
-Dim lighting will make your color choices harder. If it's indoor dim lighting, everything will have a warm tone to it and seem darker than it really is.
Here's a fun exercise to do to really understand what I'm talking about: Go to a hardware store and get three paint swatches from the paint department. Doesn't matter what colors, but try to get a light value hue, a middle value hue, and a dark value hue.
Using those three paint swatches, try to match their colors with your paint in those different lighting conditions. Take your time on this, no need to rush it. The key thing is to NOT match what you think the colors are, but what they really look like to you. After you finish one set of them, put them away and move onto the next lighting situation. Once you did your three or four different swatch sets, get them all out and compare them - your colors will be wildly off in some cases (especially the dim lighting one.)
3. Not quite sure what you mean by occasion. I do master studies to figure out the brush work and handling that a painter has done, to try and figure out what they already figured out. You need to be mindful of your copy though - just simply copying it won't do you any good, you need to be using that grey mush in your skull to get any use out of master copies.
there are different ways to use watercolor. I was taught to use a transparent method wet into wet in some places and then letting the paper dry in others, depending on the effect you want. try not to over blend your colors. Start light and add your darks last paint in a thin monotone wash first then go in with heavier pigment but keep it loosely flowing.
Scott Burdick has a great little watercolor book out which I highly recommend. Used copies can be found for around 6 bucks.
Work in conditions as close to daylight as possible. I have a bank of phillips daylight fluorescent bulbs in my studio. They have the highest CRI (color rating index) on the market.
I would get control of your medium first before tackling master studies for something like watercolor. master studies are good to figure out process and techniques and control. Sargent and Homer come to mind.
Its harder with watercolor to find enough info on master palettes to mimic their work correctly.
I am currently looking for a painting travel kit. Can anyone recommend a set up kit (no big easels) that includes a rest for my paper pad that is portable (or do people paint on their laps?)? All I can find are bags and pans, and I use tubes.
NVM, I found out they are called pochade boxes.
Last edited by Vay; June 24th, 2011 at 09:25 PM.
Thanks, duztman. I couldn't find the right words to describe problems with direct light, so I had to settle with what I had. That was a perfect explanation though.
Vay, if you feel pretty adventurous and cheap, you could get a hold of an altoid tin, some double-sided tape, and some empty watercolor half-pans. Fill the half-pans with the tube paints you want, and voila, a portable watercolor field kit.
My sketchbook thread:
Yea, I got the paint holders and palettes. What I am most concerned with is holding my paper pad up. I don't have any waterproof resources that can be used to make a stand for my pad. So I was wondering if someone can recommend a good portable easel or pochade box or an alternative solution to holding the paper at standing eye level. I don't want to spend around a hundred dollars for something if I don't need to use it. I have never painted outside before.
Last edited by Vay; June 25th, 2011 at 05:08 PM.
Its a good rule of thumb to follow but not always. The smaller companies that make them have to charge more than the factory stuff other companies use. Sometimes the factory stuff is just as good though. It depends on the quality control they use to oversee manufacturing.
Try looking at this link if you are concerned about costs. (I know I am)
His is intended for oils, but it wouldn't be hard to adapt it for watercolor.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by Faust Arp; June 25th, 2011 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Wrong link.
I have been using head an shoulder hair shampoo to make my natural brushes maintain their shape. Is it a good thing to have brushes dry with soap on them, or wash them with soap, specifically head and shoulder shampoo? I read that it might harm natural hair brushes by taking away their natural oil, which also maintains their shape.
Can I re-oil my watercolor brushes with products such as:
Last edited by Vay; July 2nd, 2011 at 07:54 AM.
Well, would you let your hair dry with soap in it? Of course not, since it'd make your hair nasty. Same thing. I'd clean with soap, then rinse with water. I then blot out the extra water on a towel, shaping the tip as I do so. Then I let them air dry standing up. Keeps the tips in pretty good shape.
I don't use a regular soap, though. I use that brush cleaner stuff...gimme a second...Here we go: Master's Brush Cleaner. I love that stuff. Never tried getting acrylic out with it, but it doesn't even flinch with watercolors or oils. Those links you posted are more or less the same thing (the DaVinci one is, at least.) I wouldn't bother with the Kafka stuff if you got either the Master's or DaVinci cleaner.
I think that cleaner is a conditioner as well as a soap, so if you wanted to keep using Head and Shoulders I'd look into getting a conditioner as well - otherwise the soap alone will dry out the hair and make it harder for it to hold its shape.
I've also seen cleaners that are nothing more than olive oil turned into a cake form, but who knows how well those work.
Last edited by Vay; July 2nd, 2011 at 05:15 PM.
rip a long strip of toilet paper, wet it with your saliva and wrap it around the brush; that'll keep it in shape.
http://www.rosemaryandco.com/). Handprint website recommends starting Rosemary and Co, as well as Cheap Joe (http://www.cheapjoes.com/) or rekab brushes (http://www.rekab-brushes.co.il/). The guy from the handprint website seems to know a lot of stuff. Handprint website also popped up many times when I was searching for brushes. He also have a guide on color indexes for identifying true colors of a paint, because manufacturers tend to label the paint colors differently at times (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterfs.html). What a useful website. I trust the guy after having some experience with Winsor Newton brushes and watercolor paints. The winsor newton artist's water color sable I bought has so many split ends.
Rosemary's brushes used to be absolutely fantastic - I think after they picked up in popularity some of their quality control has suffered, since I've run into a few brushes here and there that were as bad as some of the W&N Series 7. They're still on average more consistent than the Series 7 though.
My go to brushes are Escodas- I love how those brushes feel. Their brush shapes are a little blunt, but they're really springy and have a nice tip to them.