Easy Watercolour Painting Projects

Easy Watercolour Painting Projects

South Downs View UK by Ray McSharry
South Downs View UK by Ray McSharry

Anyone who wants to learn painting should ideally start by taking small steps and progressing at a steady pace instead of rushing though the process. When you move slowly, you gain better mastery over the basics, which will help you obtain stunning results in every piece of watercolour painting that you create.

Your first few attempts may not be masterpieces but if you are patient and continue to strive and improve on your mistakes, you will learn to develop various techniques and come up with brilliant results. When you learn painting with watercolours, you should keep your mind open to experimentation and also to advice and feedback from your peers.

A Decent Toolkit For Your Watercolour Painting Project

The basic materials required are:

A good quality brush. One will suffice to begin with. A “mop” that tapers to a point is ideal.

At least two different colours of paint. Earlier I have suggested that you use “student grade” watercolour paints to practice. Now, assuming that you have had some practice (see the topics in my “Watercolour Techniques” section), I am suggesting that you get a better grade of watercolour paint. Three primary colours would be quite good since tone is a much more important concept than colour.

Some good quality watercolour paper of a fairly heavy  weight. At least 200 gsm is good (look for the weight on the pad of watercolour paper that you are buying). You can spend a serious amount of money  on decent watercolour paper and it definitely adds to the overall quality. All I am saying at this stage is to be sensible – start mid-range and slowly work up the scale making sure that you notice the improved quality in your own painting with the better types of papers.

Practical Additions

You will also need a firm surface on which to place the watercolour paper. A piece of plywood or hardboard is good.

I doubt whether an easel is worth considering at this stage – save your money so that when you do want to invest in an easel you can afford one that is substantial and of good quality since a cheaper easel may be flimsy and more trouble than it is worth.

You will also need some water. Screw capped bottles are good for this. Consider having two bottles of clean water per painting session so that you can have “dirty water” and “clean water”.

A sponge (or tissues) for cleaning the palette is a good idea. A cloth (or again tissues) for wiping the brushes is also a good idea.

to practice is a watercolour paper that is stretched on a drawing board, a brush, , clean water and a cloth for wiping the brush.

So, on to your first (or next) watercolour project.

Practice And Master Different Techniques For Your Project

Learn painting using the right techniques. Watercolour painting uses terms such as wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry. It is important to learn these different methods and try out these techniques.

Record What You Do

I suggest that you start a file for the various attempts and make notes with the colours that you use. You may not be able to gauge the amount of water used to dilute the colour as this comes with practice.

Prepare The Paper

Ideally you use a sponge or large brush to dampen the paper with water evenly before using paint. It is good to use your arm rather than the wrist when you sweep across the sheet of paper in a single stroke.

Pre-Planning Is All-Important

Pre-planning is important when you plan to use colours. Learn how to wash the paper and keep it sufficiently wet when you introduce colour. Turn the paper upside down when you use washes for clouds, the sea and sunsets. Observe how the colours mix on the paper. Get sufficient amount of colours that you plan to use ready before you start your painting and work fast to put them in before the painting dries.Learn painting with watercolours using graded washes. The colour is lighter towards the bottom of your page. You need to lift the excess water when you use the last stroke and hold the paper to dry at an angle.

Once you have practised the various techniques, decide on the subject that you wish to select. Study the paintings of inspirational watercolour artists and see how they’ve used different materials and different techniques (or crib from my list of “Easy Watercolour Projects” in the menu).

Learn From Different Sources

Learn to master the art of sketching and drawing landscapes if that is your topic of interest. Follow the guidelines suggested by artists online or look at the videos to learn as much as you can about proportions, shading and highlights.

Try your hand at different effects when you practice seascape artworks or landscapes. As you become more experienced and confident you can introduce some different techniques such as using masking fluid or salt crystals to introduce different end results. Or indeed, think up some of your own techniques and try them out.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Take your time to learn to sketch, shade and highlight with pencils. Use watercolour paints on paper to master the various techniques. Wait till the paint dries up completely before you try to work on improving the painting. My advice to all my students is to be patient and practice hard. Look at your work critically and try to improve on the mistakes made, but  most importantly, enjoy what you do.

I always tell my students that they should learn to be critical about their work by looking for flaws which can be rectified. Identifying these flaws and accepting them will help you climb that ladder to success and carve a great niche for yourself as an excellent artist.

Do Get In Contact!

Have you found my tips useful? Maybe your comments could help improve the clarity for others (so often when giving instruction it is easy to assume the student knows something basic – something that after years of practice you consider obvious but is in fact still a mystery to the student.

Do help me improve my website.

I would absolutely love to share what I know with you, alternatively  please do take a look at some of our other pages below on the sub-menus.