Categories
Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Flat Wash

The watercolor technique flat wash is a process for painting large, solid color backgrounds or underpainting for glazing, and for smaller areas and objects in a composition using the wet-on-wet technique.

A sufficient amount of watercolor paint and water needs to be mixed ahead of time so that the color value is consistent throughout the flat wash process. If you have to stop to mix more watercolor with water, the paper will become dry and your wash mixture will most likely not be the same color value as your initial wash.

For covering large areas, use a one-inch flat brush or an oval “wash brush” (also called a “mop brush”). To paint smaller areas with a flat wash, use a round brush size 10 or larger.

Controlling the brush and the painting speed is important. The wetness of the paper needs to be consistent until the desired area is covered with the flat wash. The tip of the brush should lightly touch the paper and move across the paper in a smooth, horizontal stroke.

When the flat wash is completed, leave the paper tilted at a slight angle on a board or easel until it has dried completely. Then proceed with painting the rest of your watercolor composition.

Recommended

Use 140 lb cold press archival 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. It is advisable to stretch the watercolor paper first to prevent it from buckling if you plan to cover the paper with a wet-on-wet flat wash. To avoid stretching the paper, I recommend using a watercolor paper block. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Mixing Colors

Watercolor technique – Mixing colors is combining two or more watercolor paints to create a variety of color mixtures. The most common method uses a palette to which paints are added and mixed together with water and other colors. Another method for mixing colors is achieved by combining colors directly on the paper surface.

Best Watercolors for Mixing Colors

Not all colors mix well together. So, it is important to know which colors to choose before mixing colors. Jim Kosvanec did extensive studies of watercolor paints and developed a color chart that categorizes watercolors into groups of colors by their characteristics. See Which Watercolor Paints Are Transparent for help in choosing watercolors for mixing colors.

For the best results, only use transparent and semi-transparent watercolor paints for mixing colors.

Mixing Colors on the Palette

Preparing a palette is central to starting the painting process. It involves selecting paint colors and placing a sufficient amount of paint for mixing on the palette surface. A palette can be made specifically for the purpose of mixing color and have compartments to hold each paint color. It could also be an enameled butcher tray or a plain dinner plate.

Two color mixtures are prepared at the start of a painting:

  • The first is a large mixture of paint containing a lot of water for washes that will be used the most in the painting. A separate bowl or enameled butcher tray would be ideal for this purpose.
  • The second are small puddles of water mixed with color on the mixing area of the palette. The brush is used to drag color from the paint wells onto the flat area of the palette where it is mixed with water.

When adding watercolor paint to the palette’s paint wells, arrange the warm colors on one side and the cool colors on the other side. Use two brushes, one for the warm colors and one for cool colors, to keep colors and mixtures clear.

Mixing Colors on Watercolor Paper

Three different approaches used to mix colors directly on the watercolor paper are:

  • Glazing or Layering – is painting a warm Primary color as the first layer, and after it has dried paint a cool Primary color as the second layer over the first. The two Primary colors layered over each other will result in a Secondary color. For example, a Blue layer painted over a Yellow layer will result in a Green color.
  • Organic Mingling – is dropping one color into a wet painted area of another color and letting the two colors mix organically.
  • Variegated Bleeds – is painting one color at one end of a shape and painting another color at the opposite end of the shape, then using the brush to drag the two colors together at the center of the shape allowing them to bleed color into each other.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Glazing & Layering

The watercolor technique glazing and layering are very similar processes for painting transparent and semi-transparent watercolor paint in layers, one color over another. What is the difference? The glazing technique is used to create luminous atmospheric effects and for underpainting a foundation for other glazes to be applied over it. Whereas, the layering technique uses glazes specifically to build depth and three-dimensional form in stages.

In both the glazing technique and the layering technique, a layer of watercolor is allowed to dry completely before another layer is painted over it.

Watercolor Glazing Technique

Use the watercolor technique wet-on-wet when applying glazes.

The first step is to brush, spray or sponge on a layer of clean water on the paper surface.

Next, mix a sufficient amount of watercolor paint with water enough to cover the paper surface area intended for glazing. This could be the whole sheet of watercolor paper or just a portion of it.

For a luminous effect, apply a warm color – usually a transparent yellow such as Aureolin – as the first layer. As mentioned above, it is very important to let the layer dry completely before applying the next.

Before applying the next layer of transparent watercolor, rewet the paper surface lightly with water. If working with the same brush, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Then dip the clean brush in clean water and lightly brush the water over the previous glaze.

What color to use for the next glaze is determined by the underlying glaze color and what the combination of the two (or more color layers) will result in. For instance, by adding a transparent layer of blue over a yellow layer results in the color green. A transparent red over a yellow layer results in the color orange. A transparent blue over a red layer results in the color purple. And, so forth.

Watercolor Layering Technique

Use the watercolor technique wet-on-dry for applying layers to build depth and form over an underpainting of glaze that can be applied wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry.

First do a watercolor flat wash of the large, two-dimensional shape of a subject in the painting composition. Then let it dry completely.

Next, in stages, paint the smaller shapes over the large, two-dimensional shape.

Then paint the smaller, descriptive details as the final stage.

As each layer is applied, a three-dimensional shape is revealed.

Recommended

Use 140 lb cold press archival 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. It is advisable to stretch the watercolor paper first to prevent it from buckling if you plan to cover the paper with a wet-on-wet wash. To avoid stretching the paper, I recommend using a watercolor paper block. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Wet-On-Dry

The watercolor technique wet-on-dry is the process of applying a brush wet with watercolor paint to dry paper. This method allows a more controlled brush stroke for defining shapes and details and is the method most commonly used in watercolor painting.

Wet-On-Dry Technique

A variety of wet-on-dry brush strokes can be achieved for making natural-looking marks, lines from thin to thick, sharp edges, and textures depending upon how the brush is held and how much watercolor paint is on the brush.

  • Lightly touching the tip of a wet brush to the dry paper produces a thin line.
  • Pressing the side of a wet brush down onto the dry paper produces a thicker mark or line.
  • Lightly stroking a dry brush (one with very little watercolor paint on it) produces texture.

Wet-On-Dry Wash Technique

Unlike the wet-on-wet wash technique, it is difficult to lay a wet-on-dry wash without the brush strokes showing. So, the wash will have streaks if you don’t work quickly.

The paper should be tilted slightly on an easel or board so that the watercolor paintbrush strokes flow downward more evenly. This will help the brush strokes be less visible.

For covering large areas, use a one-inch flat brush or an oval “wash brush” (also called a “mop brush”). To paint smaller areas with a wet-on-dry wash, use a round brush size 10 or larger.

The brush needs to be full of watercolor paint. Apply the brush in an even stroke across the full width of the paper. Then immediately fill the brush again and brush across the bottom edge of the previous brush stroke the full width of the paper. Repeat this process until the desired area is covered with paint.

When the wet-on-dry wash is completed, leave the paper tilted at a slight angle on a board or easel until it has dried completely. Then proceed with painting the rest of your watercolor composition.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor Technique Wet-On-Wet

The watercolor technique wet-on-wet is the process of wetting the paper’s surface first with water before applying watercolor paint to it. The water can be brushed on, sprayed on, or sponged on the paper. Watercolor paint is then brushed on while the paper is still wet or damp.

Wetting the paper first allows the watercolor paint to spread or flow when it is brushed on the wet surface. Whether the watercolor paint spreads or flows depends on the angle of the paper surface. If the paper is laid flat on a table, the watercolor paint will spread out from where the paintbrush tip touches the paper. How much the color spreads is dependent on the wetness of the paper. If the paper is placed at a slant on an easel, the watercolor paintbrush strokes will flow downward.

Wet-On-Wet Wash Technique

The wet-on-wet “wash” is used for painting large, solid color backgrounds or underpainting for glazing, and for smaller areas and objects in a composition.

  • Flat Wash Technique – painting an area with watercolor paint in a seamless color value without evident brush strokes showing.
  • Graded Wash Technique – painting an area with watercolor paint from a dark to light color value by adding more water to the paint brush instead of adding more watercolor paint.

A sufficient amount of watercolor paint and water needs to be mixed ahead of time so that the color value is consistent throughout the wet-on-wet wash process. If you have to stop to mix more watercolor with water, the paper will become dry and your wash mixture will most likely not be the same color value as your initial wash.

For covering large areas, use a one-inch flat brush or an oval “wash brush” (also called a “mop brush”). To paint smaller areas with a wet-on-wet wash, use a round brush size 10 or larger.

Controlling the brush and the painting speed is important. The wetness of the paper needs to be consistent until the desired area is covered with the wet-on-wet wash. The tip of the brush should lightly touch the paper and move across the paper in a smooth, horizontal stroke.

When the wet-on-wet wash is completed, leave the paper tilted at a slight angle on a board or easel until it has dried completely. Then proceed with painting the rest of your watercolor composition.

Recommended

Use 140 lb cold press archival 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. It is advisable to stretch the watercolor paper first to prevent it from buckling if you plan to cover the paper with a wet-on-wet wash. To avoid stretching the paper, I recommend using a watercolor paper block. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Techniques

What Are Watercolor Techniques

In this post, I will define what are watercolor techniques and provide a list of techniques with brief descriptions for each. Definition: A “technique” is defined as a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure; a skillful or efficient way of doing or achieving something.

So, a watercolor technique is a method, procedure, or process to achieve a particular desired effect when painting in watercolor. Mastering watercolor techniques gives the artist the ability to control the application of watercolors on the painting surface.

By practicing watercolor techniques you will acquire the know-how and skills to paint flat and three-dimensional shapes, textures, depict light and shadow, how to use colors, and reserve white space in your composition.

Wash Techniques

  • Flat Wash Technique – creates a continuous flat color without showing evidence of brushstrokes
  • Graded Wash Technique – creates a gentle graduated dark to light effect using one color
  • Variegated Wash Technique – creates a gentle graduated blending effect using two or more colors

Wash techniques are the basic methods used for watercolor painting and are the primary skills learned and practiced by the beginner in watercolor.

Wet & Dry Techniques

  • Wet-On-Wet Technique – water is applied to the paper first before painting watercolors on it
  • Wet-On-Dry Technique – painting watercolors on dry paper (without prewetting the paper)

Wet and dry techniques are used for laying washes and creating textural effects.

Preserving White Space

  • Planning and saving white space – determining, before starting a painting, where to leave white space in the composition, and avoiding applying watercolor to those saved white spaces
  • Resist Technique – applying waterproof materials such as masking fluid, or Frisket, masking film, and masking tape to the paper surface before painting to preserve white space

Preserving white space is essential for painting in watercolor because, unlike painting in oils, white watercolor paint is not normally used. Instead, the white of the paper serves the purpose for white areas needed in a watercolor composition.

Applying Watercolor

  • Glazing Technique – layer of transparent or semi-transparent watercolor paint applied to a wet surface, then left to dry before adding the next layer of transparent or semi-transparent watercolor paint over the previous layer
  • Layering Technique – glazing layers to build depth and three-dimensional form
  • Light to Dark Technique – light watercolor applied first, then left to dry before adding darker watercolors in succession
  • Hard and Soft Edges Technique – blending a sharp edge into a blurred edge to make it appear to fade softly into the distance for perspective and three-dimensional form

These techniques for applying watercolors to paper are the basic methods for painting in watercolor.

Textural Effects

  • Drybrush Technique – painting with an almost dry brush with only paint loaded onto it
  • Granulation Technique – painting with watercolor paints that have grainy pigment particles
  • Lifting Technique – applying absorbent paper to a damp painted area to lift the watercolor
  • Salt Technique – applying salt to a damp painted area that is then left to dry before rubbing off the salt
  • Sagraffito Technique – applying a knife’s edge to a painted area to scratch out the watercolor
  • Spattering Technique – flicking paint off of a brush to create random spatters of watercolor

Textural effects are elements that are added to a watercolor composition to give it detail and depth.

Recommended

To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Transparent Watercolor Watercolor Paint

Which Watercolor Paints Are Transparent

I first learned which watercolor paints are transparent by reading Jim Kosvanec’s book, “Transparent Watercolor Wheel: A Logical and Easy-to-use System for Taking the Guesswork out of Mixing Colours” (affiliate link) first published by Watson-Guptill on May 1, 1994. They republished it in paperback on April 15, 2000. However, both editions are no longer in print. But, you can buy it from used book dealers on Amazon. You can also borrow a copy from your local public library.

Click image to watch video on YouTube

You can also determine what watercolors are transparent by downloading color charts from brand-name watercolor paint companies. My favorite brands are Winsor Newton and Holbein. Follow the links below to download their color charts:

Jim Kosvanec’s Color Choices

Jim Kosvanec did extensive studies of watercolor paints and developed a color chart that categorizes color names into “rings” on a color wheel, as follows:

  • Ring 1 – Transparent Non-Staining
  • Ring 2 – Simi-Transparent Non-Staining
  • Ring 3 – Transparent Staining
  • Ring 4 – Semi-Opaque & Opaque
  • Ring 5 – Whitened & Blackened

Transparent Watercolor Colors

There are two groups of transparent watercolor colors. They are “non-staining” and “staining” found in Ring 1 and Ring 3 of Jim Kosvanec’s color wheel.

Ring 1 – Transparent Non-Staining Colors

Ring 3 – Transparent Staining Colors

Beware When Mixing Transparent Staining Colors

Transparent staining colors in Ring 3 only mix well with other staining colors in the same Ring 3. If you try to mix Ring 3 colors with Ring 1 transparent non-staining colors, the staining color will overpower the non-staining colors. They will also overpower other colors in Ring 2 and 4.

Mixing Ring 1 & Ring 2 Colors

To quote Jim on what colors mix well, he said:

Transparents mix or glaze with other transparents without restrictions. Transparents mix well with all others pigments except staining colors, which can “dye” them. Semi-transparents may be used like transparents but with more restraint.

~ Jim Kosvanec

Ring 2 – Semi-Transparent Colors

Here are the semi-transparent watercolors Jim Kosvanec classified as Ring 2 on his color wheel. These colors mix well with Ring 1 transparent colors identified above.

I use Ring 1 transparent non-staining colors for glazing my first layers of color. Then I add colors from Ring 2 for depth and darker tones where needed. And, for my darkest darks, I use colors from Ring 3 sparingly. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

Categories
Watercolor Paint

What Watercolor Colors To Buy

What watercolor colors to buy is a personal choice. Experienced watercolor artists develop their own favorite color palette. But, for a beginner, you can start with the bare minimum three PRIMARY hues:

  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Red

Having only the three primary hues, you can mix all the secondary hues and the hues that fall in-between. But, who wants to do all that mixing? So, why not buy the SECONDARY hues as well:

  • Green
  • Purple
  • Orange

The hues in-between the primary and secondary hues are called TERTIARY hues, they are:

  • Yellow-Green
  • Blue-Green
  • Blue-Purple
  • Red-Purple
  • Red-Orange
  • Yellow-Orange

All of the above consist of the 12 hues on the color wheel. Each of these hues have associated COLOR names that differ slightly depending of the watercolor manufacturer’s labeling.

What Are The Common Color Names

The following chart displays the most commonly used watercolor color names for each hue:

Watercolor Manufacturers

To see a list of well-known watercolor brands click here.

Recommended

If you are on a tight budget buy the watercolor Color Names listed above: numbers 1 to 6. My favorite brands are Winsor & Newton and Holbein. I also buy a few Blick colors. I recommend that you always buy professional-quality watercolor paints, especially if you are planning to sell your watercolor paintings. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames or by visiting my gallery website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Ideas

Watercolor Ideas For Beginners

There are many options to choose from when looking for watercolor ideas for beginners. So, you may find it difficult or confusing trying to decide on a subject to paint. There are still life, landscape, waterscape, or specific objects like flowers or fruit/vegetable, etc. compositions to consider.

I am sure you have heard the expression “Do what you love.”

“To do what you love first find what you love.”

~ Amit Kalantri

How To Find What You Love

Ask yourself:

  • What are my favorite activities; things I like to do in my spare time?
  • What are my favorite places to go to; the beach, the park, etc.?
  • What objects do I enjoy observing; what brings me pleasure to look at?

Then write your answers down in a list with your most favorite thing at the top as #1. Then list the rest by priority.

Use Free Stock Photo Websites

There are several websites online where you can find images to download for free with no attribution required. These websites have a Search Box that allows you to enter your topic of interest and get results to browse. For instance, if you want to paint flowers, type “flowers” in the search box. You can even narrow the search down by color or type of flower that interests you. Here are my favorite stock photo websites:

Composition Steps

  • Download the stock photo to your computer.
  • Open the saved stock photo in your graphic software or directly on to your computer desktop.
  • Draw an outline of the image on to your watercolor paper.
  • Select your watercolor paint colors to use for your composition.
  • Begin painting.

My Favorite Thing To Paint

I love flowers, and that is what I enjoy painting the most. Using the stock photo websites mentioned above, I never run out of watercolor painting ideas. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames and visit my website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Paint

How Watercolor Paint Is Made

Prior to the mid-18th century, watercolor artists handmade their paints by mixing powdered pigments with sugars and/or hide glues or some other binder and preservatives. Brothers William Reeves and Thomas Reeves invented the moist watercolor paint-cake in 1781, at the start of the “golden age” of English watercolor painting. The “cake” was immediately soluble when touched by a wet brush; a time-saving convenience.

William Winsor secured the patent for the metal paint tube invented by American oil painter John Goffe Rand. Winsor improved the design by adding the screw cap in 1904 and started manufacturing the Winsor & Newton moist watercolors in tubes.

Today, watercolor paints are sold in tubes and pans in a variety of sizes. Tubes are the most commonly used and are sold in sizes 5ml, 10ml, 14ml, 15ml, 21ml, and 37ml depending upon the manufacturer’s brand. Pans come in full-pan and half-pan sizes.

Tube Watercolor Paints

Watercolor paints in tubes are soft and moist. They are made with natural or synthetic pigments suspended in a binder of gum arabic with glycerin added as a wetting agent. By reading the label on the tube, you will discover the pigment formula number(s), transparency rating, lightfastness rating, staining property rating, and an approved product seal.

Watercolor Paint Manufacturers

Here is a list of popular watercolor paint manufacturers in alphabetical order:

Other Watercolor Mediums

  • Gouache – an opaque watercolor with a higher pigment density and white chalk added
  • Liquid Watercolors – resembles ink and is sold in small dropper bottles
  • Watercolor Sticks – resembles crayon or pastels that can be used dry or wet
  • Watercolor Pencils – resembles a lead pencil but contains dry watercolor pigment

Recommended

My favorite manufacturers of watercolor paints are Holbein in tube size 15ml and Winsor & Newton in tube sizes 5ml, 14 ml, and 37ml. I recommend and use only professional-quality watercolor paints. NOTE: Student-grade watercolor paints are mostly made of imitation pigments of low quality. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames or by visiting my gallery website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Brushes

How Watercolor Brushes Are Made

Since prehistoric times, humans have used brush-like instruments to paint on cave walls. They most likely used sticks with the ends crushed to soften the fibers, and/or animal hair tied at the end of sticks. Until recent history, watercolor brushes were handmade by attaching animal hair to the end of wooden handles.

In the 1800s during the Industrial Age and the invention of the metal ferrule, the manufacturing of watercolor color brushes began. Today, most watercolor brushes are machine-made. Top-quality watercolor brushes are still handmade.

Watercolor Brush Construction

  • Hair or synthetic fiber tip
  • Metal ferrule
  • Handle

Hair or Synthetic Fiber Tip

Watercolor brushes are made with natural sable hair, synthetic sable fibers, or nylon. The very best are made with Kolinsky sable hair from a species of weasel in Siberia.

Metal Ferrule

Fine quality watercolor brushes are mounted into ferrules made of a hard but malleable, corrosion-resistant metal such as brass or copper. These are typically plated with nickel, silver, or (rarely) gold. Ferrules on cheaper brushes are made of softer aluminum or tin.

Handle

Better quality watercolor brush handles are made of seasoned hardwood that is sealed and lacquered for a high-gloss waterproof finish. Cheaper, mass-produced handles are made of unfinished raw wood. There are also brush handles made of molded plastic.

Watercolor Brush Shapes

  • Round – for a variety of brush strokes with a fine tip for details.
  • Flat – for spreading paint quickly and evenly over a broad surface.
  • Mop – for broad washes, soft paint application over layers and glazing.
  • Rigger – useful for painting fine lines.

Watercolor Brush Sizes

There is a wide range of brush sizes from very small to very large, respectively: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30. The most frequently used are in the mid-size range: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18. The size indicates the width of the hair tip. The larger the size, the broader the brush stroke will be.

Recommended

Quality watercolor brushes are expensive but worth the investment. If you handle your brushes with care – rinse them thoroughly after a painting session, and store them flat or in an upright brush holder to dry – they will last you for many, many years. To start, I recommend buying Blick Masterstroke Finest Red Sable Brush – Round, Size 8, Short Handle. My favorite and most frequently used sable brush is a Round, Size 12, Short Handle. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames or by visiting my gallery website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

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Watercolor Paper

How Watercolor Paper Is Made

Prior to the 19th century, watercolor paper was handmade by processing wet pulp in a finely woven mesh screen. The process was slow and very expensive. Then in the early 1800s, an industrial paper machine was invented. The paper-making industry started mass producing mold-made watercolor papers. Now high-quality machine-made watercolor paper is readily available, as well as handmade.

Watercolor Paper Characteristics

Watercolor paper is made of cotton and/or linen rag or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers. A gelatin sizing is added as a protective agent that makes the paper less absorbent. Watercolor paper is available in three textures: rough, hot-pressed, and cold-pressed. And, it is available in several thicknesses. High-quality watercolor papers for professional (and serious student) use have the following characteristics:

  • Made of 100% cotton rag
  • Cold-press texture
  • Thickness: 140 lb., 200 lb., or 300 lb. weight

Watercolor Paper Sheet Sizes

The standard size categories for watercolor paper sheets are:

  • Royal (19 x 24 inches)
  • Imperial (22 x 30 inches); also called a “full-sheet”
  • Elephant (29 1/2 x 40 inches); and
  • Double-Elephant (40 x 60 inches)

Watercolor paper can also be purchased in pads, blocks, and sketchbooks in a variety of standard sizes and paper qualities. Pads and sketchbooks are usually made of cotton-blend watercolor paper for student use.

Watercolor Paper Manufacturers

The best, high-quality watercolor paper is produced in France, Italy, and Great Britain. They are:

  • Arches made in France
  • Fabriano made in Italy
  • Lana made in France
  • T. H. Saunders made in Great Britain
  • Whatman made in Great Britain

Recommended

If you are a serious student or hobbyist who intends to show and sell your watercolor paintings, use professional-quality watercolor paper that is labeled as “100% cotton”, “archival”, and “cold-press”. The thickness (weight) should be 140 lb. or more. I only use Arches Watercolor Paper natural white full-sheet size for my paintings. To learn my process and improve your painting skills follow me on Instagram @vanissajames or by visiting my gallery website: Vanissa James Fine Art.

Categories
Color Mixing Watercolor Paint

Prussian Blue

Use Prussian Blue for Dark Backgrounds

Prussian Blue is similar to Winsor Blue, but it is a neutralized semitransparent color. I mix Prussian Blue with Alizarin Crimson and Viridian to create strong darks for backgrounds and to darken other colors.

This dark mixture is almost black, but is still transparent. I use it instead of black tube paints such as Ivory Black, Neutral Tint, Payne’s Gray, etc. which have an undesirable flat appearance.

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

French Ultramarine

French Ultramarine is one of my favorite blues. It is a semiopaque, warm blue that mixes well with other transparent nonstaining colors. It is a good color to use as foreground shadows. It sits between Winsor Blue and Ultramarine Violet on the color wheel.

Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber complement French Ultramarine when juxtaposed in a composition.

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

New Gamboge

New Gamboge is my favorite, warm, yellow. It sits between Aureolin and Cadmium Orange on the color wheel. Ultramarine Violet or Permanent Mauve complement New Gamboge.

I like to use it whenever a cheery yellow is called for and when creating 3-dimensional form for yellow-to-orange objects.

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Cadmium Scarlet

In the past, I used Cadmium Scarlet as the SECONDARY ORANGE on the color wheel because it is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below. But, now I prefer to use Cadmium-Free Scarlet because Cadmium paints are toxic.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Cadmium-Free Scarlet, the complementary color is:

Winsor Blue
Winsor Blue (Green Shade)

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Cadmium-Free Scarlet:

Manganese Blue Hue
Manganese Blue Hue

Ultramarine Violet
Ultramarine Violet

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from ORANGE to YELLOW the analogous colors for Cadmium-Free Scarlet are:

Cadmium Orange
Cadmium-Free Orange

Aureolin
Aureolin

Triadic

This Triadic consists of three SECONDARY colors. In addition to Cadmium-Free Scarlet, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Viridian
Viridian

Permanent Mauve
Permanent Mauve

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Cadmium Red Deep

In the past, I used Cadmium Red Deep as the INTERMEDIATE RED-ORANGE on the color wheel because it is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below. But, now I prefer to use Cadmium-Free Red Deep because Cadmium paints are toxic.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Cadmium-Free Red Deep, the complementary color is:

Manganese Blue Hue
Manganese Blue Hue

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Cadmium-Free Red Deep:

Viridian
Viridian

Winsor Blue
Winsor Blue (Green Shade)

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from RED-ORANGE to YELLOW-ORANGE the analogous colors for Cadmium-Free Red Deep are:

Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium-Free Scarlet

Cadmium Orange
Cadmium-Free Orange

Triadic

This Triadic consists of three INTERMEDIATE colors. In addition to Cadmium-Free Red Deep, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Permanent Green Light
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)

Ultramarine Violet
Ultramarine Violet

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Alizarin Crimson

I use Alizarin Crimson as the PRIMARY RED on the color wheel because it is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Alizarin Crimson, the complementary color is:

Viridian
Viridian

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Alizarin Crimson:

Permanent Green Light
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)

Manganese Blue Hue
Manganese Blue Hue

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from RED to ORANGE the analogous colors for Alizarin Crimson are:

Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium-Free Red Deep

Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium-Free Scarlet

Triadic

The three PRIMARY colors on the color wheel are YELLOW, BLUE and RED. In addition to Alizarin Crimson, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Aureolin
Aureolin

Winsor Blue
Winsor Blue (Green Shade)

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Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Winsor Violet

I use Winsor Violet as the INTERMEDIATE RED-VIOLET on the color wheel because it is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Winsor Violet, the complementary color is:

Permanent Green Light
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Winsor Violet:

Aureolin
Aureolin

Viridian
Viridian

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from RED-VIOLET to RED-ORANGE the analogous colors for Winsor Violet are:

Alizarin Crimson
Alizarin Crimson

Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium-Free Red Deep

Triadic

This Triadic consists of three INTERMEDIATE colors. In addition to Winsor Violet, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Manganese Blue Hue
Manganese Blue Hue

Cadmium Orange
Cadmium-Free Orange

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Categories
Color Schemes Watercolor Paint

Permanent Mauve

I use Permanent Mauve as the SECONDARY VIOLET on the color wheel because it is a pure color that is perfect for its complementary color listed below.

The following color schemes are based on Stephen Quiller’s “Quiller Color Wheel (affiliate link)” and his book “Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory (affiliate link).”

Complementary

The complementary color sits on the opposite side of the color wheel. For Permanent Mauve, the complementary color is:

Aureolin
Aureolin

Split-Complementary

The split-complementary colors are the two colors located on either side of the complementary color on the color wheel. The following are the split-complementary colors for Permanent Mauve:

Cadmium Orange
Cadmium-Free Orange

Permanent Green Light
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)

Analogous

Going clockwise on the color wheel from VIOLET to RED the analogous colors for Permanent Mauve are:

Winsor Violet
Winsor Violet

Alizarin Crimson
Alizarin Crimson

Triadic

This Triadic consists of three SECONDARY colors. In addition to Permanent Mauve, the other colors that make up this Triadic color scheme are:

Viridian
Viridian

Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium-Free Scarlet

Shop online for watercolor supplies at discount prices using my affiliate link.

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