You may be ready to invest in a set of quality tube watercolors. There are many brands to choose from! Winsor and Newton makes a very good paint that I used for years. I've recently begun using Daniel Smith and have a few tubes of M Graham. The pigment load in any of these brands is excellent.
Don't waste your money on the Student grade watercolors. The pigment load is dismal in these paints. Sakura Koi is a decent pan watercolor set. The pigment load is better than the Prang and the price is decent. I use this set for traveling.
Here is a basic palette to get started with in the tube watercolors. Note that the purple made wiith this palette is a bit muddy. That is because the Permant Red is a warm red (tends towards orange).
Here are three colors that will extend your palette further after you've purchased Basic A and Basic B. From this point, it is subjective. I find greens more difficult to mix and this gives more options.
The Dead Palette is neutral earth colors. Here are a few examples. Yellow Ochre is missing here and is a good addition. These colors soften and neutralize the basic primary palettes and provide you opportunities to mix a more sophisticated range of color.
Returning to the studio from vacation, I was dismayed by my almost-empty watercolor tubes. Ugh. This means a significant output of $$$. After some thought and cuddling up with the idea of laying out money though, Daniel Smith sent me an email about a BIG SALE! Usually, these sale emails get deleted but this time I thought: Research and Smart Shopping.
After a very careful combing through, I found this set, heavily discounted. It is pretty much the set of colors I use with acrylic paints and the palette I used for oil paintings way back then.
Yellows: Aureolin (Cobalt Yellow) and New Gamboge (a rich yellow with just a touch of orange)
Greens: Sap (indispensible primary green), olive green (neutral) and Gold Green (yellow green)
Blues: Phtalo (Red Shade), French Ultramarine, Cobalt (Primary) Cerulean Blue
Quinacridone Rose (Blue Shade), Permanent Red (primary, more opaque), Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Violet and Quinacridone Magenta
Earth Colors (Dead Palette) Quinacridone Gold, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna and Quinacridon Burnt Orange.
Missing from this palette is Yellow Ochre - usually a standard in my palette but with the Raw Sienna and Aureolin, I can easily mix that
Also a black was missing. Easily mixed with the blues and oranges but I added Indigo for its deep value and blue cast.
Tomorrow I'll show you how I laid out my palette.
And so, the Palette. I am using a cheap-o plastic palette that closes. It has 24 wells and ample mixing areas. If you are a beginner, you needn't (or, perhaps: shouldn't) have this array of colors. Start with a primary palette.*
*The Primary Palette: Permanent Red, Cobalt Blue and Cobalt Yellow allows you to mix the full range of secondary and tertiary colors. Since Perm Red is not a blue-red it will give you a slightly muddied purple. I'm finding the Daniel Smith colors to be pretty much in line with the Winsor and Newtons I used forever. BUT the Artist Grade tube colors are the most powerful and will give you the biggest band for your buck.
Onto a small exercise tomorrow ...
Landscape is a simple because you can do a lot of invention and not get hung up on drawing. I started off by drawing some rectangles into my watercolor Moleskine.
Sunrise/Sunset (you can hum along), full-on day with shadows. You can try night, as well. These different times of day will allow you to play with combinations of colors. Wet your paper and apply paint in ribbons to allow the colors to leak and run into each other. Now this is really about the best thing about watercolors. The wetting or not wetting. You can leave an area bone dry and the wet color won't leak into it! Glory Be!
You can also preserve white areas by using frisket. The white paper shining through gives a sparkle. I didn't do here.
Tomorrow, we'll talk layering.
It is a good time to share some of the videos I've made relating to Watercolors.
Watercolor and Resists Watercolor Rainbow
OK, which hairdo do YOU like the best ... Argh
Layer transparent colors with your watercolors to make more interesting color.
Lay your color down on a dampened paper. Don't scrub it: just a nice smooth brush stroke - and yes, that takes some practice. Use a 1" flat brush to make these color samples, let the paint dry and then lay on the second color. Keep in mind: the lighter value (yellow), should be laid down first and the darker value (blue) is laid down in a lighter wash on top. The darker the value of the color, the stronger it is!
Red and blue on lower right. Note that the purple is slightly grayed. That is because the Permanent Red color tends towards the orange (it is a warm red rather than a cool red, such as Alizerin crimson).
The green on the left of this sample is from layering blue and yellow. The Permanent red and yellow makes an excellent orange. Once you have the green patch made, let it dry and wash over a part of it with the permanent red. You should get varying browns and grays. The same goes for the Purple and yellow.
Here is a sample using Cobalt Blue, Magenta and Raw Sienna. Note that I used a dry brush in some of the areas. This technique (practice!), with the pure white peeking through makes a sparkly look.
Here, I used Quin Burnt Orange, Permanent Red, Burnt Sienna and Sap Green. The small neutral patch is the Sap over the Red.
Tomorrow, I'll have a round up of past posts from my blog. Happy Friday all
Here are links from previous posts about Watercolors that you may have missed.
Splash and Draw. Critters with pen and watercolor
Watercolors and Crayons. Love resists
Use your Watercolor in your Art Journal (just an example)
Melanie Testa and Me: Inspiration Exchange, (all about Frisket :)
Leaving the White Space (from Carla Sonheim's Practicing Whimsey class). I challenged myself to leave spaces unpainted when I took Carla's class.
There is loads of info on The Sketchbook Challenge blog. Most of us use watercolor.
Enjoy your weekend! I'll be back on Monday with a video on painting watercolor papers for collage.
Firstly, It's all about the water to paint ratio. In fact, it is much about learning the properties of water as the properties of color.
This is a BIG DEAL: Paper: Use the good stuff. The cheap stuff will frustrate you.
Thirdly, If you mixed mud, figure out why. Was it the colors you used or too much scrubbing. Pay attention to the mud. It is useful. Mud is not always a bad thing. It makes clear color ring.
Ultimately ... Play = Practice. It's the same thing. If you take a playful approach to practice, your mind will remain open to letting in all sorts of new observations.
One of the reasons I put this together for you was to let you into one of my online classes in a small way. To give you a taste. You may feel more comfortable laying out your hard earned money on one of my future classes (online or in person).