21st May 2022

Watercolour Painting. 2.

Learning Watercolour Painting: Church in snow.
Watercolour Painting: Church in snow.

Watercolour Painting. 2.

So this is my second post on learning watercolour painting. Following my attempts to put paint to paper.  I’m now up to about week 6. The learning seems to have slowed down a bit, I don’t feel as though I am making headway I was at the beginning. This is probably the same with any learning experience.

A couple of things have become apparent over the last couple of weeks.

The Paint.

I suppose it should have been obvious how important the paint is all along but it took me a little while to realise just how important.  Up to now I’ve mostly been using a set of Reeves paints I had been bought. They are “OK” but having now tried Cotman paints by Windsor and Newton I found a distinct difference. The Cotman paints are obviously more expensive but in this case you pay for what you get. The Cotman paints are better colours, cover better and blend better both on and off the paper.

Learning Watercolour Painting: Seascape.
Watercolour Painting: Seascape.

The Cotman Paints are not the most expensive ones available, they are sold as “Student” grade. Maybe one day I will try some of the professional grades available but I think at this stage the student ones are more than enough.

Learning Watercolour Painting: Lakeside
Watercolour Painting: Lakeside.

The Paper.

As with the paints the paper does make a huge difference. This is especially true when you are using a wet in wet technique. Normal paper will buckle and the water can dry out very quickly. As you get into the painting you will want to have higher quality paper which obviously costs more. Cotton paper, 140 lb is good. Rough or smooth depends on your painting style.


Another thing I’ve come to realise is how important detail is in a picture. These are the very little things which make up the whole. If you take a look the first picture on this page, the church. Notice the hint of plants in the bottom left. The broken hinge on the gate. Again, I don’t pretend to do it well but I have come to realise the importance of details.

Where I’m Up to now.

Below is the first picture I’ve done which isn’t part of a lesson. It’s based on a couple of photos I had on my computer. It was a bit strange, having to work out what order to paint things in, what techniques to use where. Even the colour choices. Nevertheless I enjoyed doing it and, although I will continue with the lessons, it is something I will introduce more and more of.

Watercolour Painting: Sailing
Watercolour Painting: Sailing

To Work On.

I don’t want to give the impression that these full pictures are the only thing I practice. Before I did the sailing picture I practice doing different types of seas and waves. Before the seascape I practiced cliffs and rocks. I know I also need to practice different types of trees! I do this practicing on spare pieces of paper or even on the back of “failed” pictures. It’s a useful way to practice different techniques.

I shall keep going. Am actually eager to see what I can do over the next couple of weeks.