Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Watercolor my World: Part 2

In my last few posts, I've gotten a little digital-heavy, but I promise I have not forgotten to document my painting progress! In my last watercolor post, I described why I decided to take a watercolor class in the first place. As my 8 week course comes to a close, it's easy to say that I'm not quite publish-ready with the medium, however, I did make a great deal of progress. 

My starting palette. 

Here's my edited palette (in list form) and what I discovered about each color (to my personal taste):

-Cobalt Blue (too close to Ultramarine, replaced with Prussian Blue)

-Viridian Hue
-Sap Green
-Burnt Umber (dull, but sticking with it)
-Yellow Ochre (too dull, replaced with Naples Yellow)
-Quinacridone Gold (decided to add more blue to palette with Cerulean)
-Cadmium Yellow Hue
-Burnt Sienna
-Alizarin Crimson (use it in EVERYTHING)
-Cadmium Red Light Hue (replaced with Mortum Violet)
-Cadmium Red (also use it in EVERYTHING)

As in most schooling, it's customary to start with still lives. Here's my first pass at one using my original  Winsor & Newton palette and Arches Cold Press

Here are a few other samples of what I painted:

I discovered how much I like to add reds and pinks when I'm real-life painting. I also became slightly obsessed with painting fur. :) It doesn't happen so much when I'm working digitally, but who knows, maybe that will change now? 

My weapons of choice:
-Ticonderoga #2 Pencil
-Isabey Squirrel Quill Brush (Size 4) - great for both large washes and details
-Isabey Kolinsky Brushes (Size 4 and 6) - best for small areas
-Winsor & Newton Cotman (Size 5) - best for hard details

I switched a lot between Hot and Cold Press Arches (140 lb.) throughout the 8 weeks, trying to discover what I like best about both. 

Cold Press (Toothy Texture) seems to be best at letting the paint do it's thing:

Paint edges look softer and blend better on Hot Press.

Hot Press (Smooth) seems to be best for adding ink line and/or colored pencil:

Paint edges look harder and more defined on Cold Press.

Here is an example of some color tests I did side by side on Hot Press (back) and Cold Press (front):

Lemur in a sombrero prefers Cold Press, like me.

I gave Cold Press another shot on the last night of class, and this is what happened (based off of this sketch):

I wasn't able to use my ink brush, instead I tried using the paint, itself to fill in the lines I wanted so badly to see. 

I hope to keep painting and I can only imagine that making the promise to update you all on my progress will push me forward. And then, maybe slowly over time, my palette will continue to grow to a more masterful size, like Dan's

Dan Moynihan's watercolor palette is well-loved!

Thanks for reading!



  1. Great progress, Renee! I've taken a watercolor class, but it was for hobbyists and everyone was painting flowers. *YAWN* I wish I could take a class with Dan, since he understands more of how I would actually be using the paint. I will say that I have figured out that line is too big a deal for me to let go, so hot press is my go-to. I can come in w/ colored pencil, ink brush, graphite, etc. and add details here and there. This was a fun peek at your work. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Diandra! :) I think sharing all the progress makes me work harder at it!

  2. Loved seeing your watercolour pics. I really love the medium and what you can do with it. Jeananne Dobie's book on watercolours, Making Color Sing was a "moment" for me in watercolours and in acrylic glazes which I use the most for PB work. I always get excited in seeing what materials others are using and mostly HOW. BTW, I just love the beginning combo of Colbalt, a Quinacridone gold and Rose Madder Genuine. Great post and I know you're having FUN!

    1. Hehe, thank you Alison! I love looking at other artist's materials as well, you never know where you can pick up a tip! Speaking of tip, thanks for letting me know about that book, I'll have to check it out. :D

  3. I love these watercolor chapters! Thank you for sharing!