Heya! So, today I want to talk about watercolors. Watercolor painting is one of the trickiest art forms to master, yet it also incredibly delicate, beautiful, and satisfying. It requires restraint, patience, a high degree of skill, and the ability to see what your going to paint before you lay the color down.
Needless to say, I haven't come anywhere close to mastering it yet.
However, playing and practicing are good ways to dabble and learn! To that end, I started casually painting 4" x 6" postcards. The cards I found are great because the size isn't intimidating, they are quality paper, and all the postcardy goodness is printed on the back for you already. Plus, they size is great for framing, so whoever is lucky enough to receive one of these little beauties can frame it if they'd like.
As I was working on these, I thought others might like to play around, too. I find watercolors a little scary, but with this little tutorial, maybe it won't seem so scary for others anymore!
|Strathmore Watercolor Postcards, 4" x 6"|
|Back, and front.|
4" x 6" watercolor postcards
Watercolor paints - I show two travel palettes, this is the bigger one. You can also use tubes of paint.
A palette or plate to mix and thin your paint on
Paper towels and/or a towel
Masking fluid-optional, b sure you have an old brush to use with this. It can ruin a brush if you don't clean it out completely.
Sharpie, ultra fine-optional
|Masking fluid and an old, cheap brush to apply it with.|
Ok, so you're ready to print. Go for it! Once you've printed your image, it's time to get your workspace ready to go. Everything needs to be within easy reach. Use the masking tape to fix your postcard to your working surface. Be careful to make this neat as it will eventually make an unpainted frame around your work. Good lighting is important, too. If you can get natural light, awesome! If not, whatever you feel with comfortable works, too. Just make sure you can see where you're putting paint, and can accurately see the colors your using.
|Yes, I work at my computer desk. It's the only place I can call my own with two kids in the house! LOL|
|Taped down, ready to add masking fluid or paint.|
|You can just barely see the masking fluid on the surface.|
You're ready to paint! I'm not here to dictate how you color your card or try to teach you to use watercolors. There are some fantastic watercolor tutorials out there that will help you much more than I can. However, I encourage you to play! Try covering an area with water, then dabbing some paint into it. Try blending two colors together this way. Use highly-concentrated color, use very thin color, drawing thin lines or create big blobs of color. Be realistic or crazy. Whatever you do, try to have fun and enjoy it. Reminder: watercolor dries lighter than it looks when applied. Keep this in mind when adding very light colors. In my painting, the "whites" of the eyes are painted a light blue, but it dried so light that, next to the intense colors of the irises, it looks a bit washed-out.
|Getting some color laid down!|
|Dabbing color into a wash of water.|
|Thrown down some salt!|
If you want to create a cool effect, regular table salt is a great way to go. While an area is still wet, sprinkle some salt down. It will push and pull the paint and create a snowflake or crackle texture. Carefully brush off the salt before it's completely dry, being sure to not smear the damp paint. If you let the salt dry onto the paint, it may not brush off completely. However, I've found this leaves a subtle sparkle, which I don't mind at all. In this example, I used salt in the enter of the eye to add a little variation, while the two previous cards got salt on the background.
|Salt textures, close-up.|
|A matched set!|
The final step is to sign the front and add some info to the back of the card with your Sharpie, so your recipient knows the name of their beautiful artwork! I also add the date and the medium, but feel free to add whatever information you want. You're ready to mail or frame your art work!
|Back of the completed card with painting title, date, and medium. I think this adds a nice handmade touch.|