How to Paint with Watercolors

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 71,407
    Craft Expert Catherine Hillis demonstrates how to paint with watercolors.

    Catherine Hillis: Hi I am Catherine Hillis, and I am a professional watercolor artist and today I am going to teach you how to paint in watercolors. First of all, we will go through some of the basic skills, the building blocks of watercolors which would be wet on wet, wet on dry, glazing, graded washes and dry brush. Then we will hit some specifics in watercolor painting. We will learn how to paint black, how to preserve your whites, beautiful skies and how to paint flowers as well as green and finally how to bring a round object to life through glazing.

    I want to talk about some of the tools that we use in watercolor painting. First of all, I want you to know there is absolutely no substitute for good quality paint and paper. You can substitute some of the other tools but it's really best to use good quality paint and paper. So first of all, I would like to show you a sheet of paper. I use Arches or Artistico 140 pound cold pressed. The roughness of the paper is called the tooth, the paper is 100% Cotton is archival and it's just a wonderful surface to paint on.

    Of course you need a pencil and a eraser for watercolor painting. I myself just use a regular pencil and a white eraser or a kneaded eraser. I do use a palette, I like to use a square palette that has the painting walls on all four sides. That way I can mix blacks and grays in the middle and I have a lot of mixing room. I think that's pretty important. You need a water container. You need some masking tape, I just choose regular masking tape. I used just a regular water bottle to reconstitute my paints, a hair dryer. I suggest that you have a good round brush that's a number 10 or number 12 and a nice flat brush that's at least a half an inch or one inch wide and I of course, like to use a very wide wash brush. My brush is about two inches wide.

    You can also use specialty brushes very small, fine line brushes or other types of wash brushes. You do also need very good quality paint that is professional grade. You also need paper towels, a clean surface to work on and good lighting. If you use sheets of watercolor paper, you will also need a piece of gator board or hard board that won't bend that you can tape your watercolor paper on to, if you have not used a watercolor block.

    Watercolors are one of the safest mediums that you can use in art. Other than keeping the supplies away from children and not letting them eat the tubes of paint, I think you can probably use watercolors and all of your supplies pretty safely. I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. I do work as a professional artist, I do gallery work, I teach workshops and I compete nationally and regionally for competitive shows. I have had an article published in American Artist Magazine as well as other national journals and publications. So let's get started now and teach you how to paint watercolors.