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Watercolor painting without Frustration.

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The following is not intended to be a "painting" just a study.

Just suppose you wanted a group of coniferous type trees in your painting.

This is the way to go.

Stamp them on.

Piece of heavy cardboard, mat board will do.

Small 2" x 3" piece will work fine with a masking tape handle attached to the reverse side (form a loop in tape attached each end to board.


On the white side draw a tree starting at trunk and add limbs and branches.
Scratch, cut or dig the drawing with very harp instrument (razor blade etc.) This part will take a little practice on your part.

Practice, practice------------sounding like a broken record, just thought the younger generation of to-day will not have a clue what that means.

Next place on some vertical trunks with frisket, that's what those gray strips are. Let them dry completely.


Now take our home made stamp and apply ?thick" paint to the rough carved tree. By the way for variety. several cut-outs of different colors will be a good idea.


Paint color or colors on to your printing plate, filling all the grooves and scratches. Always print on pieces of scrap paper first to break in the stamp. Press the plate onto the paper - BINGO - instant tree.

One extra bonus for printing trees this way is that in addition to the way the cut pattern prints, you get a lot of extras, i.e. lines, dots etc, that would be difficult to paint conventionally. If you did it would be contrived and "false" looking.
Also try dampening your painting surface in some places, apply the printing press-----------here comes the foggy look.


Shows (I hope) tracing paper, rolled up, into a small ball. Why tracing paper? Crispy, firmer not as absorbent as regular paper. Now mix up strong colors and paint (as best as you can). Apply by pushing the painted ball , then do all kinds of "strange" techniques, salt, throw on paint, spray with water, let it all hang out. After all it's just an exercise.


All kinds of experiments some worked, some?


Remove the frisket from sketch and paint trunks and add a few tops of the trees.

The finished sketch.


Now you can think of other applications for stamping. This method is very versatile, plan ahead and you can make any shapes you like.

Foregrounds is a good example of causing some difficulties, where mistakes from brush work would be very obvious, brushes, grass, foliage, weeds would be good possibilities for you with your stamp.
I forgot to mention this one important point to a group of students, less than 20% of them realized direction was an important factor. DO YOU GET IT?

Yes direction was the key, the image on the stamp prints in reverse.
The more tips and techniques you have at your disposal the more interesting your landscapes can and will be.
In showing your work you might want the thinking to go some what like this---------how did they do that?




A simple way depicts a tangle mess of bushes and plant life is stamping with crumpled paper. A brittle page (crispy) rather than soft works best to transfer colors to your painting surface. I use a sheet of tracing paper it works fine.

Apply the thick paint to edges, corners of the crumpled paper.
Press the crumples paper onto the surface you might want to try to pull it our a little exposing more of the painted printing press whilst it is still wet and quickly apply additional paint if needed, then in places gently spray with a Holbein Watercolor Atomizer bottle.

I could not paint without a Holbein Watercolor Atomizer Bottle.


This sprayer does NOT put out a mist, similar to others that you might have. It puts out fine dots of water only, this image may show you better than I can explain. Sprayed water on dry paper and painted the water dots, this is the result.




Your mind should be thinking, how I can use this. Many, Many ways you play with it.


The Holbein Watercolor Atomizer Bottle costs only about $1.82-----from Dick Blick on line, easy way, my home page, click

Painting Supplies, Click Dick Blick and type in item # 02912-1003. Will be very surprised if it is in any art store.

You might want to buy other items i.e. paper etc., to offset the shipping charges. Paper is cheap here. 


[Note:Subscribers to "Jim's Watercolor Challenge" were able to view a video demonstration on how to create, and use, a stamping template.]





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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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