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Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting

 [Note: These and many more demonstrations of watercolor painting/techniqes are available to subscribers of "Jim's Watercolor Challenge" in real-time videos.]

The next few pages you will see Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.

You need to affect viewers with creative expressions with your style.

But Jim "I don't know what my style is".
That may be true, when you were taught how to write your A B C's at school did they teach you how to sign your name?
It just evolved didn't it.  You are going to wind up with a style somewhere on this line in Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.


There is no right or wrong style to paint.   Not every viewer will respond the same way.

I have always felt that "newbies" might start toward the left and then cruise a little towards the right.  And stopping anyplace on the scale that pleases them.

So that being said Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting we shall do.

Let's start from the left and work toward the right.
For those of you who would like to go from right to left turn the page upside down and proceed.

I wonder if anybody would try to do this.

Realistic and traditional washes. Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.


The tip of the brush just touchesYou can  learn in the comfort of your own home with our weekly painting report saving time, learning faster, enjoy the fun of seeing paintings you can be proud of .

The information will never be shared with anyone else...the bead and pulls it toward you.

The bead must be controlled without cascading down the paper.












The above must be on dry paper. A fully loaded brush. The board is tilted at the top about 2" high.

Start a bead of paint and continue to add more paint to the bead by just touching the tip of the brush to the existing bead.

Paint the bead with a fully loaded brush all the way to the bottom.

Mop-up the excess paint on the very bottom edge with a very dryYou can  learn in the comfort of your own home with our weekly painting report saving time, learning faster, enjoy the fun of seeing paintings you can be proud of. The information will never be shared with anyone else... brush, just touching the bead and it will soak right into the brush.

Lay the painting flat to dry. You can learn in the comfort of your own home with our weekly painting report saving time, learning faster, enjoy the fun of seeing paintings you can be proud of .

The information will never be shared with anyone else...naturally.
















Graded wash

Continuing with Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting same instructions as above, the only changes you are going to make you are going to slowly add water to the bead instead of pigment.


Variegated wash

All this means is you add additional colors onto wet paper, examples below.



You can  learn in the comfort of your own home with our weekly painting report saving time, learning faster, enjoy the fun of seeing paintings you can be proud of .

The information will never be shared with anyone else..You can  learn in the comfort of your own home with our weekly painting report saving time, learning faster, enjoy the fun of seeing paintings you can be proud of .

The information will never be shared with anyone else..

If you wish whilst the painting is still wet you can take the board and tilt it back and forth letting the colors run into each other as above.



Granulated Wash in Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.

Colors that granulate are "SEDIMENTARY PIGMENTS" such as:
Blues...Cerulean...French Ultramarine...Manganese.
Red...Cadmeium Red...Rose Madder...Genuine.
Yellows...Yellow Ochre.

Side Bar.    These are the colors that float to the bottom of your mixing water leaving a film of pigment if left overnight.  And it can be said very broadly sedimentary colors will not stain.
French Ultramarine granulates well if you use just a touch of Burnt Umber.

Glazing.   Must always be painted on dry paper.  Basically glazing is applying one color on top of the other and it does not have to be the same color, but it could be.

Wait until the previous painted area is bone dry before applying another color (a glaze).
Glazing gives the appearance of looking through a piece of stained glass in Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting and can be very beautiful producing luminous color.

Colors that are suitable for Glazing need to be Transparent--Non Staining Pigments.

Reds...Permanent Rose (comes with many names). Rose madder Genuine...Vermilion 

Yellows...Aureolin...New Gamboge.

Blues...Cobalt Blue...Antwerp Blue (some manufacturers will not produce a transparent color).

Greens...Veridian...Hookers Green (some manufacturers will not produce a transparent color).

Here are a couple of thoughts that are important.    Not only in glazing but in Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting in general.
You can paint wet on to dry paper.
You can paint wet on to wet paper.
You can paint damp on to wet paper.
You can paint damp on to dry paper.

You cannot paint wet into damp paper    If you do you will develop a  bad case of blossoms sometimes called cauliflowers or worse.

Students end up with blossoms and constantly tell me "I don't know how that happened"

They will occur when the Timing is wrong. They applied a wet brush onto a damp surface.
The moisture from the brush pushes the previous painted pigment out of the way forming a bad "tide mark".

Now that you know how to form a blossom you can paint bushes,foliage,flowers by shaking clean water over a damp area.  The drops of water will hit the damp paper and start forming great looking blossoms.

IN DEMONSTRATIONS OF WATERCOLOR PAINTING BEWARE.  If you must dry with a hair dryer don't have puddles of moisture on the paper.  Tilt and run them off first.   A hair dryer is also an air pusher,  pushing pigment into the wrong spots.

Move the hair dryer back and forth fairly rapidly across the paper Dont stay in one spot.  You are asking for blossoms to develop.  You will dry one spot and the wet paint will creep back into the dry forming a blossom.

So dry the painting all at the same time.
It is a much better plan to let the painting dry naturally, this gives maximum character to the wash.

A few sentences ago we mentioned timing in Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.  This refers to learning a few simple things to remember.

Also match the wetness of the brush to the wetness of the paper.  Continue to work the painting area while the paper glistens.  Stop immediately if and when it starts to look dull, it's drying.

For shapes to be recognizable but have a soft blurry edges maybe objects in the fog or mist this is what you do.

Trees in the mist.   Wet the paper , have pigment ready (not too much water, but not paste).
Dip the brush in the paint, hold the brush vertically with bristles up, take a tissue and just squeeze the base of the hairs where they meet the metal.

This will remove some of the water, don't touch the pigment on the tip part of the brush, we just want the water at the base of the hairs removed.  

Now paint the very top of the tree (see painting trees on this site).  Now after you have painting about 1" of the tree repeat the above instructions on removing the water.

Why did we do this, because the tip of the brush has mopped up some of the water sitting on the paper and we want a fairly dry brush.



If you have trouble controlling your watercolors, if you can't seem to mix strong darks, if your painting is filled with backwashes, blooms and wandering edges, your problem may be no more complicated than how you wash out your brush.


If you go directly from washing your dirty brush in your water bucket to the color wells in your palette, you'll fill your color wells with water.  Your pigments will be swimming in water and you won't be able to effectively control the amount of dilution necessary to produce darks or control wet-in-wet passages.  Your painting will turn into a swamp with backwashes, creeping edges and even an occasional alligator.


After washing out your dirty brush, you should dry it by wiping it on an absorbent cotton rag.  Kleenex, paper towels or cellulose sponge won't do.  You have to get the water out.  Then you can take fresh pigment from the paint wells to the mixing area and then add to it the exact amount of water needed to control the effect or value you want.






Forget about the middle,work on the edges.

If you miss getting the silhouette correct all is lost.

If you draw say a flower with the correct silhouette but get the interior wrong, viewers will know it's a flower.


Get the interior right, silhouette wrong no one will recognize it as a flower


Forget about the middle.   -   GOT IT?

Keep this thought in mind when drawing or painting,EDGES TELL THE 'STORY'.

INCIDENTS AT THE EDGES......Means something should be happening at the edges of a SHAPE, things should stick out or down into it.

These "ups and downs" at the edge should be varied.


It's important that you do this to the edge of a shape because we pay more attention to a shapes silhouette than to anything in it's "interior"


There are many occasions in Watercolor when you want to fade out or soften the edge of a colored area.

For example, you may want more eye movement throughout your picture.

You can do that by softening a few of the hard edges on shapes as it is being painted

Clouds, Rocks are a perfect examples.

Control what the viewer see's.  Fading out edges can direct the eye to see what you want them to see.  If you don't want them to notice an edge, fade it out.

This can and is used by doing the following:


In Fig. 3,  are some random marks. In Fig 4, you can see what they mean once I soften some of the edges as I paint, in other words tell you where not to look.

Fading out also is the method to use to model a shape with shadows.




As mentioned if two bodies of unequal moisture meet, the wetter area will overflow into the drier area in order to balance out the system.  So, if you want an area to fade out, you must use a brush that is less wet than the painted area.

There are a few other things you must also get right.  One is the direction in which you move the damp brush/  Follow the shape or contour of the painted area.  Don't reach into the paint and drag out color.

Also, be careful how close you get to the wet paint with the damp brush.  All you are trying to do is lay down a damp strip that will attract the wetter paint, so just tickle the edge of the paint.  It may take several passes with the damp brushing in order to moisten the paper enough.  Once the paint begins to move, make your strokes farther and farther out.

It's best if you have your damp brush ready to go as you're laying in the area you want to fade out.  If your damp brush is working as soon as the paint is down, you're more likely to succeed.  Remember that the drier the paint gets, the less willing it is to flow and the harder it is to get a less wet brush to move it.  Therefore, get to fading out quickly and, by all means, do some practicing.


Remember that your brush must be less wet than the painted area you're trying to fade out.  Follow the contour of the wet paint, just tickling the edge of the painted area.

Don't reach into the paint to put it out.

If you go too far into the paint, your damp brush will just soak it up.


Have a damp brush ready before you even put the paint down.





Forget the middle, work on edges.

When you are first learning to paint in watercolor, you don't think much about edges.

You're mostly concerned with control.  You consider the painting a technical triumph when the dark green leaves you're painting don't run into your roses or your trees bleed into your barn.  To avoid these disasters, you may even leave thin, white borders around every object or allow each area to dry before painting an adjoining area.  Although you didn't make any mistakes, the resulting painting had a hard-edged, "itchy" quality to it.  The edges throughout were monotonously similar.  You were probably unaware of how variation in edge can serve both as a descriptive device and as an effective design element in your painting.

SOFT EDGES.......Soft edges are created by working into moist area with dryer paint or re-wetting dry edges.  Softening the outside edges of a round form will make it appear more three-dimensional.

DRYBRUSH.......A "dry-brush" effect is created by rapidly dragging the heel of the brush (rather than its tip) across dry paper.

HARD EDGE......Sharpe edges are created with a "loaded" brush held perpendicular to the dry paper.  Cast shadows take a hard edge and help define a form.

TEXTURE......The texture of an object is most apparent at the outside edge of the object and on the edge of the shadow on it.  We see very little texture in the middle of the illuminated or shaded area of an object.

VARIATION......A less static relationship between figure and ground is achieved when some edges are soft and some are hard, some "lost" and some "found".

DESCRIPTIVE EDGES......We can most clearly detect the texture and form of an object whether it's rough or smooth, round or square  at it's outside edge or at the edge of the shadow on it.  You don't have to spend the entire afternoon painting every leaf on a tree with a #6 brush to show it's bushy.  Nor do you have to get the Saran-wrap or a credit card out every time you paint  a rock.  You can quickly and effectively suggest the texture and form of an object by making its edges descriptive.


Our eyes and brains are very selective:  we focus on the things that interest us and everything else becomes soft and vague.  Unlike a camera, our eyes can't bring the foreground, middle ground and background into sharp focus at the same time.  We can only focus on one selected area at a time.  As painters, we select the area (or areas) we want viewers to see by employing hard and soft edges in our composition to create focus.  By softening (or "losing") edges between objects or areas (for example, the foreground and background), we create passages that allow the viewer's eye to move through the design.  By sharpening (or "finding") edges we attract and hold the viewer's attention on areas of importance.


You probably know already how to get hard edges; your paintings are filled with them.  It's soft edges and rough edges you need to learn to paint.  And control.  They're a basic par of a painters vocabulary.

Four elements control the quality of edge you create in a painting:  the texture and moistness of the paper you're working on; the moistness of the paint your applying; the softness or stiffness of the brush you're using; and the angle you hold the brush.

HARD EDGES: -     

Paper    -    Smooth, Dry (C.P. or H. P.)

Paint     -     Liquid

Brush    -     Soft wash or pointed

Angle    -     Brush tip perpendicular to paper to allow paint to flow freely.

SOFT EDGES:-      

Paper    -    Smooth, Wet or Moist.

Paint    -     Moist

Brush    -    Soft wash or pointed

Angle    -    Brush tip perpendicular to paper to apply moist paint.


Paper    -    Rough, Dry

Paint     -     Slightly Moist

Brush    -     Stiff (bristle)

Angle     -    Brush held almost horizontally so only heel touches paper




This is an eight step by step Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.

The first thing we do is produce a Thumbnail Sketch, about 2" x 3".

This shows where the lights and the darks are going to be placed in the painting.

This is called a Value Sketch, this is the most important part to start the paining from.

It was many years ago I discovered Value is more important than Color.  If your Values are reasonable any color will most likely be appropriate.

You should see Values in the following Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.

So what is all this Value stuff, it's not what the painting is worth.

Expressed in it's simplest form, it is the lightness or darkness of color.  It transforms a two dimensional piece of paper into the illusion of three dimensions.

Step #2.... you need to have some idea how the big shapes will look, ten big shapes is normally plenty.

Step #3..... Mix up a puddle of blue, Ultra Marine for a warm look, Cobalt Blue for a neutral look, Cerulean Blue for a cooler look.  Your choice.  This is painted on dry paper with quick confident large brush strokes.

Step#4.....Mix up Yellow, a separate puddle for Blue, separate puddle for Burnt Sienna, use an Orange or make one (Red & Yellow) add Blue and various Brown will appear.

I work from right to left painting the size of a dime.  Lets start with Yellow and drop in some Blue and you can change colors every time you paint and area the size of a quarter (inch by inch).

You will notice a tissue was applied to the edge of the hills about in the middle of the picture.  You can now drop in a Brown color whilst everything is still wet.

This is Step #5..... Damp the area with plain water from the base of the house to the fence line.  Paint in Yellow with a stripe leaving no hard line now roll down Green forming a bank.

Step 6...... I placed some Rubber Latex (Frisket) along the bottom in the shape of flowers, let it dry.  Don't use a brush, just the tip of a handle will work.

Now paint the foreground the same as the bank.  Changing colors often and let them all blend on the paper.

HELLO:  We are still in the middle of a Demonstrations of Watercolor Painting.

Step #7....Paint in the cottages and other details.  The roadway just brushed with dry paint.

Step #8...... Now add in the rocks with Reds, Browns and Blues etc.  Just before they dry scrape with a razor blade pushing the paint away off the paper to form rocks.  Then paint in other details.  The real secret in making these rocks is to catch the paint just as it's damp and then you can push the paint and expose some of the paint underneath and they will form pretty nice rocks. This concludes the eight steps in Demonstrtations of Watercolor Painting.

Demonstrations of a Tulip

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Watercolor Basics

One of the biggest reasons that students fail in painting Watercolor is................. JUDGING YOUR EARLY ARTISTIC EFFORTS.



Watercolor for Beginners

Learn the basics of watercolor painting... from choosing the right paper and brushes to learning basic techniques of glazing and how to frame your work.



Watercolor Techniques

Learn just a few of the various techniques used most often by professional watercolorists to bring interest, texture and "life" to their watercolor paintings.

Each technique is fully demonstrated.


Painting Trees

Although trees are made up of many parts and endless textures don't let them become overwhelming, you cannot fall out of these painted trees. I know you can paint good looking trees with a little help. So lets see how you are going to do this without getting bent out of shape, irritated or what-ever you do when those Green Balls on sticks appear.......been there...done that.

Painting Landscapes

I am going to present to you a "non encyclopedia" approach and give you a no fuss, logical way to paint a watercolor landscape and have fun doing it. Before we start, get comfortable maybe a favorite beverage would be in order.Make your mistakes, goofs and failures work to help you in painting a watercolor landscape.

  • Four Seasons
  • Working With Fresh Transparent Glazes
  • Watercolor Painting in the Great Outdoors
  • Painting Clouds in Watercolor
  • Step by step Demonstration on Watercolor Winter Scenes
  • Demonstration of Painting Trees Trunks
  • Demonstration of Rocks and Sea
  • Demonstration of Watercolor Skies
  • Watercolor Landscape Painting Tips

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