Watercolour Painting Tips for Beginners

Watercolour painting for a beginner can be a bit difficult. It requires only the medium of water. It is a complicated painting technique to master -- right from the amount of water to mix, to knowing when to stop. How the painting will eventually turn out is seldom predictable for amateur painters, as the appearance changes as paint dries up. So is watercolour painting a maze of calculations -- guesswork and hoping the best turns out? The following tips should help throw some of the unpredictability out of the way.

Art Supplies Needed

To begin with, you need the right art supplies before you start painting. These include watercolour paper, brushes -- the round, flat wash and oval wash brushes, stretching paper and primary colours - red (purple biased and orange biased), yellow (green biased and orange biased) and blue (purple biased and green biased).

Mixing these primary colours can produce virtually all the other shades you might need for your work. You also need cleaning materials such as sponge or paper towels and two containers -- for clean water and for mixing. Eraser, drawing pencil and sketchbook are also handy.

Know Your Colours

The second stage is having a basic understanding of colours, which will be vital in mixing them. Knowledge of the colour wheel is a bonus. There are warm and cool colours of which reds, oranges and yellows are warm and greens, blues and purples are cool. The purest mixtures can be attained by mixing colours with the same bias, as mentioned in the paint list above. Colours that are biased to the same secondary colour produce the deepest shades.

Mixing opposite colours in the colour wheel results in duller shades that are either greyish or brownish. As the watercolour dries it becomes lighter, so when you mix ensure that your shade is quite intense and saturated. As far as possible, ensure that you don't use more than 3 colours for a particular mix.

First Steps to Professionalism - Adding Value and Tone

One of the most important aspects of professional painting is establishing value and tone. These factors ensure the painting has a three-dimensional feel, making it much more realistic and part of life. For this, the principle to keep in mind for watercolour painting is to move from the light to the dark areas unlike in oil painting on canvas where you move from the dark to the light.

Establishing Light and Dark Areas

Observing or imagining the object and the way light falls on it will determine the light and dark areas. Moving from the lighter to the darker areas can be achieved by painting successively without waiting for the adjacent layers to dry. This achieves a smoother and more blended effect and is ideal for backgrounds or depictions not requiring much detailing. For more detailed depictions of images in the foreground you can move from colour to colour after waiting for the previous application to dry. This gives a more chiselled appearance instead of a blend as there is no colour blending.

With these basic watercolour painting tips a beginner will be half way to mastering this delicate art method. The right art materials, knowledge about colour and establishing light and dark areas should put you on the right footing to start watercolour painting.

For beginners to watercolour painting it is important to buy the right Watercolour paints, paper and brushes. Artists Materials Online has a wide rage of Art Materials and Supplies including Watercolour Paints ranging from beginner to professional standard.

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