Intro to Watercolor, Fine Arts Style | Wendy Soneson | Skillshare

Intro to Watercolor, Fine Arts Style

Wendy Soneson

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11 Lessons (35m) View My Notes
    • 1. Introduction to Materials

    • 2. Basic Techniques

    • 3. Using the Materials

    • 4. Wet and Dry Paint

    • 5. Putting things together

    • 6. Mixing Colors

    • 7. Avoiding Mud

    • 8. Saving and Recovering White

    • 9. Copy a Master Painting

    • 10. Making a Color Wheel

    • 11. Working within a section


About This Class

Choosing materials correctly is the first task. Then understanding pigments, paper and uses of the brush. We move on to secondary to tertiary color mixing, copying a Master painting, and working with wet and dry paper.

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Wendy Soneson


1. Introduction to Materials: Hi. It's watercolor with Wendy, and this is my first lesson. First, I'd like to talk to you about what supplies to buy. I never let my students bring art supplies to the first lesson because they always by the wrong things, and they don't understand what they're buying. So let's talk about paper first. Now we want to get a brand called Arches that is a French paper, and it comes in hot press, which we're probably not going to use. I'll explain that in a minute, but most paintings air done on March is £140 cold press paper, and you'll notice that over here it says 100% cotton. That's very important because the surface that we're working on is the most important thing about watercolor. You don't worry too much about the surface of other MIT media because we are going to be soaking into the paper, and the paper is going to be part of the trend, the different effects that we're going to get. All right, so that's your paper. Now you come by. This pad from 20 is about $50 or you can do is I do and by the paper off the shelf. Most other brands and pads that you see are not 100% cotton should not buy them. I buy the big sheets off and caught it. This is 1/4 sheet, and it's a lot cheaper to do it that way. There's two sides to the paper. There's the convex on the con. Cave doesn't matter too much which side you use. Although the convex size, a little less bumpy, the hot press paper that we referred to earlier is actually been pressed with a hot iron. It makes the surface smoother, but also makes the paper harder for the water to penetrate. So that's your paper. Very important to have 100% cotton paper, 1 £40. Let's talk about the brushes. Make sure you buy a watercolor brush, not a acrylic brush. And nowadays they're making wonderful synthetic hairs that are better than the previously used sable brushes, which were very expensive. So you want to get up, Ah, 100% synthetic brand of hairs on the and we want to get a good brand, the most expensive you can afford. This cold around brush. You campaign almost everything with this brush and my students get one of these in their kits, and they can paint everything for about a year with just this one brush. Here's a larger version that I have used for really large paintings, but you wouldn't get around to that for quite a while. The brand I use is pro art 101 pro lean brush. You can order him from England. If you can't get that, then you have to get a kind of, ah, substitute, which will be not quite as good. Won't last quite as long, but these are my favorite. All right now the paint I use Cheap Joe's American Journey artist grade pain. There's also a a lower grade of paint you can get, which is called, uh, student grade. And even if you're a student, you don't get that, because in this tube you have various elements, and in the student grade you got a lot more inferior elements. So you want to get the artist grade the top grade, and inside that tube we've got a certain amount of pigment and a gum, Arabic and other ingredients that help it blend with other colors and other wonderful things. so you don't want the student grades. You got inferior pigments, lots of filler. You don't want that. So this is the brand died by and there are others, and I will name the colors and you can get these particular brand. But if you buy another brand, there's a different names. So I've got sour lemon. I've got cadmium yellow, medium. I've got cad me and Red Medium. I've got ultra Marine blue, I've got permanent Rose and I've got Joe's Blue. So now let's talk about of the colors. So we want to work as artists. We want to work on Lee from primary colors, and that way you could make all your colors yourself. And that will teach you how to see is an artist's and see the colors better. So why not just have three primary colors? Because there's no red, yellow or blue paint available. They don't know how to make a pure red, yellow or blue paint, so instead we've got two of each. So we've got oh, the red, this one. And then we got the other red, and you can see one of them has a little yellow in it and one of them has a little purple or blue in it. So then we also have to blues. That's one of them, and you'll see the difference with this one. That's your purple blue, ultra Marine. And then we've got two yellows. There's one yellow that has a little bit of blue in it. That's this one and one yellow that has a little bit of red in it. I'll be happy to give you a plate of perfectly good red or yellow or blue, but they don't exist, so you can see here how the colors are slightly different, and the problem comes in when you're making secondary colors, so you need to have paints with only two primary colors in them. If you have three, it becomes money. And with water call, you can't unmuddied that color. 2. Basic Techniques: Hi. This is watercolor with Wendy Lesson to. All right, So now we're looking at thes six colors that we talked about in less than one. And we're gonna talk about first of all the four paper techniques, which are you either have dry paint. That means not very much water in it. And then you put it on the paper like that and you get a sort of Ah, Texturizing doesn't absorb into the paper. So we don't use it very much at all. Like 1% of the time we do that, Then there is wet on dry. So that means you create an edge or ah, hard line, because the paper is dry outside of that line and I'm making this wet circle. So it's called wet on dry, and you can add more water to that, and it will not go over the line because the papers treated with a kind of sizing. Then we have two more. We've got wet paper and you can come over with the dry or thick paint, and then you you see that is gonna have a soft edge. And it was kind of stay where you put it and then we have wet on wet, which is wet paint on a wet surface, and that is going to travel a bit more. So we have wet on wet, dry on, wet, wet on dry and dry on dry. Mostly, we're going to use this one and this one. So those are the four paper techniques. Now three brush techniques are first. You are a delivery system, which I've just been doing. I've been delivering paint and sometimes water to the surface. Secondly, the brush becomes a new kind of a tool, so now we're going to use it to blend. So it's a mixer. You move the colors where you want him to go. Thirdly, we have something called Lifting, and I'll show you the proper way to lift. So it has to be on wet paint, and I don't want that paint there anymore. So I get a clean brush and I wipe it with my brush than my Wipe it on my rag. Wipe it with my brush, wipe it on the rag, wipe it with my brush, wipe it on the rag and so forth up to 30 times, and you'll probably get most of that paying off, not after it dries. Once the pain is dry, it won't cut. It won't come off. So those are the three brush techniques. Now there's three places you could mix the colors. You could mix it on the paper like I've been doing here. Or you could mix them on the palate, which I don't allow my students to do, because then you only get one color instead of multiple colors. And then there's one more way if you have a dry paper with something that's already happened some time ago, and you can put what's called glaze on the paper and that's that's not disturbing the layer underneath. Those are the basic tools we have for making paintings. We've got three brush techniques before paper techniques and the three mixing techniques 3. Using the Materials: Hi, It's watercolor with Wendy. This is less than three, and we're gonna talk about the paint colors as well as the mixture of water and pigment, which is which watercolors all about. So we talk about wet on dry and dry and wet in the last lesson. But we didn't really explain that. Sometimes the paper can be super wet, and if I hold that up here and let that water sink in, it's gonna get deeper and deeper into the paper. I can even take this sheet of paper and soak it, and they'll be soaked all the way through. And what that does is it makes a space for the paint to go downwards rather than sideways. So, for example, this is very wet, and I'm gonna let that sink in a little bit if I bring some paint over some dry paint, even though it's quite quite quite wet. The paint sort of stays there because you know what is going downwards with the gravity. The water is sucking up the paint on. The contrast would be if you have wetter paint, then it's gonna move a little bit more. It's gonna be lighter as well so you can control your edges, which we talk a lot about with watercolor by how much water is on the paper. There's three places where there's water. There's water on your brush or not. You could take some off. There could be water in the paint that you've added, and then there's water on the paper. So to get the most control, you you want to keep most of the water on the paper because it keeps the paint stable is going downwards. So if we have the wet paint, this is the is equally wet paper. If we have what paint, then things move like that very quickly, even if it's thick picker. Now, if you go with thicker or we call it dry paint, then it stays pretty much where you want to put it like that. So you controlling the amount of water by having it very saturated on the paper but dryer on the paint, and that way you can control it better. This this I can't do much about is going to do its own thing. But this I can control by adding more water, moving it around, mixing with other colors. So all of our control comes from how thick is the paid the paint and how wet is the paper? That's less than three. 4. Wet and Dry Paint: Hi. It's watercolor with Wendy again. Today we're gonna work on fully saturated paper. Now, this piece of paper is floppy because I've soaked it both sides 30 seconds on each side so that the water goes all the way through the paper expands a little bit sore like a sponge. So it's growing and you stick it against the non poor service. Keep it flat, and we're gonna do, Ah, a landscape that has no really soft edges because you can only make soft, hard edges on a dry paper, So this is gonna be all soft edged. So I'm gonna control my color, how thick it is by how thick my paint is. And I'm going to start with this color of the top, and it's gonna melt into the paper. It stays pretty stable because the papers so wet all the way to the core. And then we can maybe switch to another color here, and we can control how light and dark, of course, how much paint is in there. You can even throw some more water on there to get some action going now that go from the red with blue in it to the red with yellow in it. So the paint is thick, the paper is super wet. And this is how you can get some of your best watercolor effects. The natural bleeds. I call them, put a little water there, make that move. All right. And then you can keep going down the page here. And the more that more that the paper is drying on the surface, that little bit harder edge you're going to get. I'm gonna go down here and use this color. I'm clearly going through the rainbow. So and if you're careful, then your colors. You can even lift it up a little bit if you like, and the colors run off the page, do it happens. This is fun. And then when we get down here, if I want to get more of ah edge, then I can have a little bit drier paint than I had Now. I'm making it very thick, thick, thick, thick. It's almost sticky so that I could get a harder edge right here. I can mix my colors on the page because we always do that, and it's a color going there, and you could do this all day. long. It's lots of fun. But what you don't want to do is mix all these colors together because, of course, they're going to turn brown. So that's working on fully saturated paper, especially good for landscapes. 5. Putting things together : Hi. It's watercolor windy. Today we're gonna talk about tertiary colors and I've drawn some circles on the paper here , and we're gonna put red, yellow and blue in different formulas in each one of these circles. So we're going to keep switching our reds and yellows in their blues. And I don't mind that the water is a little dirty because we're making tertiary means three or muddy colors. But we want to see how many we can get in each circle. So I'm gonna go some red one edge, some nice yellow. I'm doing brush technique number one, just delivery and some below. Then once it's on there, then we can try mixing it. No, if I mix it too much, it's all going to become one color. But if I just makes it a little, I'm going to start to see some muted oranges and some muted graze, and you'll see all kinds of browns and grays in there. You can remove if you like to get some lighter versions, and then we try it again with the circle. This time, use a different red. Yellow blue embodies the other red, which is the red with blue that was nice and thick. See how it stays where it goes but doesn't go outside the long cause. There's no water, balloon and yellow, and we do brush technique number to clean off your brush, and we're gonna mix and see how many tertiary or dull colors we can get. There are at least 20,000 grays and blues, so we want to be sensitive to those different colors as an artist. But that's a different set of color, isn't it? We'll do another one and use a different red yellow blue combination. So I'm going to use the yellow with blue in it for my first color and the blue with red in it for my second color of my blue. And let's go back to the red with yellow in it. So not mixing these colors together, and you just keep mixing till you don't see any more of that original color. And they were getting a whole another set of radio grays and browns and muted colors, so this will help you to tune your I end. You could do six of them if you like. There's more than combinations and that help you understand the different shades of red and blue that you can achieve with your primary colors. 6. Mixing Colors: Okay, let's talk a little bit more about making exact colors. I just want to talk about the three dimensions of color, and one of them is lightness to darkness is called value. So if a given color has a certain value from you could say 1 to 10 0 was white darker than that would be 10. And then we want to talk about the hue that means like on the color wheel. Where does the color fall? Generally between what two colors is always between two colors. So, for instance, maybe this one is falling between red and yellow to begin with. And now there's 1/3 element. It's called the Third Dimension of Color, and that's how muddy is it. Some colors air, not muddy. There just have two dimensions. But let's try toe experiment, making some of these colors here. So this one, I think I would start with this color to get it going, and we can see right away that that isn't quite right. It needs more red, right? So we'll go and get some red with yellow. Keep it bright to begin with, and then right in that up a little bit. We got it yet. Note. Okay, a little bit more red. If it's too much, just take it off. Adjusted. So its exact That's too much. Spread it out. Okay. And if it isn't quite muddy enough yet, then you add the third primary, which you can add by adding any other color that has blue it at some. I'm gonna add the red with blue in it. And then if we go too far, then you can go back to your original color until you get an exact match to that color. It still needs a little red. So the kids, it takes a few tries. But in the meantime, you're getting a variety of colors, and that's what you want. You don't really want one color. Keep working on that. So this is called luminosity or glow. You get a whole bunch of colors for the price of one, all right, And then the same thing with this more tertiary color. So we know that has got red, yellow and blue in it. So that sort doesn't matter which one you start with. But you might try to classify the main color of the red, yellow blue, and I'm gonna go away now We're gonna start with blow because we know it's got red, yellow and blue and I'll just try the red with the yellow in it and then you look at it and go. It's a little too dark. Take some water and put that in and compare it again and you say, Oh, actually, it's got a little more yellow in it, so go yellow, a little more red. I think if you get too much, take it off and then I'm going back to blue and that this might take a few tries until you get the right color. That has way too much blue takes him off. Go back to read until I get that color. I'm getting pretty close now. Just needs to lighten it. So that's how you you could get one of these little things from Home Depot and tried practicing making colors. Or just try practicing making colors from any source material that you've got 7. Avoiding Mud: Hi, It's watercolor with Wendy. Lesson four. Now we're going to just talk about the color is a little bit more. One thing to remember is if you have three primary colors together that they will make a dull color and then with water collar, you can't take that third out so you can have muddy colors and you might not want money colors. You might in some cases, but we're going to try to keep our colors bright and then money them at will. So therefore, if we're gonna make a secondary color, one secondary color is purple. So if we make purple out of red and blue, which you may remember from kindergarten read and blue. And that was the red this red and the, uh, the red with a little bit of yellow in it, and the blue a little bit of yellow one. It becomes muddy, so that's not a bright purple, and I can't make it bright. It's a kind of a purple. It's adult purple, kind of a graze purple. But if you're more cognizant of what you're using, then you're gonna pick the red with blue in it already. We don't mind, is no yellow in that color and then pick the other blue with red in it already. And then we have bright purples, so this could make 10,000 different purples, depending on how much water you put in there, how much blue You could make it more blue and how much red. But this one is muddy. You could make it lighter, but you can't get the yellow out, so it's very important to mix the right to the same thing will be to with the other two secondary colors. For example, green. If I make green with the yellow and blue and I use this blow, which is the purple blue, it's got a color, and there we don't necessarily want for green. There's some red in there and then I pick the yellow that also has read. Then we just get some very, very dull greens. But if more careful, and we choose the right yellow, which is the bright yellow, the the blue yellow, and then we pick the blue with yellow in it. The yellow blue and the blue yellow get bright greens, and we can control that color for its brightness or dullness. If you want to dull a little bit. All you're gonna do is add some red. If you want to make it more yellow, you can. If you want to make it more blue, you can. But if you add a little bit of red, it's gonna dull it slightly going in this direction of that color. But you can't go the other way, so that's our lesson on secondary colors. 8. Saving and Recovering White: Hi, it's Wendy with watercolor, and I'm gonna show you about how toe reserve and recover white because our paper is our white with watercolor. So here's one way. If you want a nice sharp line, you can use masking paper tape. Put that down on the clean, dry surface. Then you put you wanna sharp edge on something and you just go over and get a nice, sharp edge. And that'll could also make shapes out of your tape and you take it off. You get a nice, reserved area. So that's one way course. The main way you wanna reserve why is to paint around it on a wet on dry surface, so that would be like that. You just paint around it, do whatever you want on the outside, and then this is gonna be your white area. That's your number one way. But let's do a few more tricks. So in other ways, after it's already dried and you want to recover some, there's a very gentle sort of way of doing it that I use for son being sometimes. So this is all dried up, and I've got an eraser here, and if I rub this really hard. I'm removing a little bit of the surface layer right here, and so that would eventually get me back to a fairly white piece of paper or at least lightened the area. And the more aggressive thing you can do is with sandpaper. And this one, this time you're going to get a texture. So I'm taking my sandpaper, and then I get a sort of a rough texture there. And you could repaint that if you like. And you can also use because this paper's very strong. You can use a sharp knife like a exacto knife, and you can you can scratch out a little area like that and that you couldn't take that off . And if you're careful, you can even cut it carefully and then peel back a layer and you'll still have some white paper underneath. And then one other way is if you have like a white gouache or acrylic paint, you can do some kind repairs with opaque white, so I'm gonna lightened something. Are you going to don't want to use this too much because it's not transparent. So there I'm getting a little white back. If you overdo that your whole painting is no longer a watercolor. It becomes opaque, so we want to do it only those ways. There's also something called Resist that you can cover the paper up and then paint over and then peel it all sort of like rubber submit. And I don't really use that technique because it has two hard oven edge. So those are your white techniques for today. 9. Copy a Master Painting: watercolor with Wendy. Here's your next lesson. Now this is a painting by the master of all watercolor, and that's John Singer Sargent. It happens to be called the art teacher. So is one of my favorite. You see, the old lady, she kind of looks like me with a paintbrush inner in her tooth. And then I would like to show you a trick about how to copy a masterwork once you've been painting for a while and it seems like there's a lot to take in here, figure out colors and so on and drink brush folks. But there's a way to make it a little bit easier on yourself Now. I don't advocate copying masters all the time, but good to copy the best because you learn a lot about their brushstrokes and how they use color. So this is one of our lessons. Now you take your piece of guys paper, cut it out and cover it over, and then you just take a little bit of an edge of the paper and show that up. And then you can cut down the job two shapes, edges and colors, rather than trying to draw umbrellas and people, which is really impossible. That's not really the way artists think of things. They think of things in terms of the, uh, edges of the edges of how hard the edges are of things and what color they are and so on. So I'll pick up this little part here, and I'm gonna take some blue there. Just copy that. One little shape, if you break it down like this doesn't seem quite so daunting. And you get really caught up in the colors and how were the edges and how you move from one color to another. So getting close to that color there keep going back and forth between your red, yellow blue until you get the color you want. And then down here used the other blue. This needs a little water. I'm working on dry paper, but I'm adding water as needed to make it look just like that. That will go down here, and that's a little bit dollars. So gonna have the third primary. This needs a little red in this case. Doesn't matter which read because we're going to a tertiary color. So then you just keep going down here and copying these shapes and the colors that you see and this will help you to see the world as an artist does in terms of shapes, edges and colors rather than objects. And then, of course, if you get that part down, you can just keep moving over. Might take a few hours or a few days, but it's a really great lesson. 10. Making a Color Wheel: Hi. It's watercolor with Wendy again, and today we're going to do a color wheel with watercolor, and that will help you in a couple of ways. It'll help you see what colors can be made between two colors on the spectrum, the rainbow, and also it helps you see quickly with the opposite color to apply colorists. So, for example, opposite of orange yellow is a reddish purple, so that's a good, handy thing to have when you're painting, all right, so now you're going to take a piece like a plate and draw a circle and then divided up in 36 sections and then every eight. Number eight you got yellow. 12345678 blue and then red. And as we know, there's no red, yellow blue, so you can start with the two sides of red and you wet what your your section. Do this one side first what it so that the color only stays in that little piece of pie and then fill it. Saturate that with a nice thick color, and then the other side of the line will be the other red, and it's going to go towards the blue. It's OK if they touch a little, but this is a lovely meditative exercise, and then you can go gradually towards yellow. So I'm going to gradually add more and more yellow to the color. So a little bit of this color, plus the yellow red. So we have going through orange and then more and more yellow until you get to the other and you go all the way around so you have all your colors, so that's a good thing to do on a rainy day. 11. Working within a section: it's watercolor with Wendy today we're gonna put together some of the lessons we've had so far, and we're gonna copy a photograph this time of a flower. And the part that we're not gonna conclude in this series is a drawing lesson. So you gonna have to take a drawing lesson to figure out how to draw the edges of the shape . So I've done quite a few of them so far as you can see and have broken them down into heart and shapes. And I have covered this with plastic just to keep my from leading from the ink and my printer. So now here's just take one of the lessons we learned before. We fill a space with water that we have designated as hard edged until it's nice and what go right to the edge. And it'll hold that edge because the water will hold the paint and not let it go over into the other section as long as the sections nearby are dry. Then when you have a nice and wet don't skim too much on that water or the paint has nowhere to go, it wants to go downwards, right? So now in each section you want to have a balance of five different items that would be dark and light color. So, like here is a darker color, and that's a lighter area. So I'm looking in my photograph to find the lightest in the darkest. We're also going to try to have a bright color or bright colors, and we're gonna have some dull colors in there. And then we want to have some harder and softer edges and transitions from color that this goes a little bit quicker than this color slowly moves into that one. So you've got the dark and light. We've got the bright and the dull colors doing different types of transitions of harder and softer edges. And then we can have a combination all the above. If you can fit those all into each and every hardline space, then you're gonna have. Overall, your painting is going to be balanced. Okay, so I'm looking at my photograph, and I see the brightest red hero with one more thing. You can try to get opposite colors, but well, that'll happen naturally. Okay, so now I'm gonna This is a dark in a very red yellow area. This is brought Russia neat. Number one. We're just gonna dump the paint on, and then we'll full with it as we come along. And then there's some this color there, not so much. And I think it's a little bit more of an orange yellow over there. Then I see some. We're gonna use your artist I and find the hidden color. So that is a or a greenish yellow there. And then over here, we need some. This is light. Gonna be light. They're still haven't manipulated the colors yet. They're just lying there, aren't they? Okay, now, let's put a little blue here where the muddy red is. So that's gonna be more of a money color towards brown, you know, the tertiary color. And then here's some here, and you want to use all six colors in every place. That will be one of your goals. So I've used them all now I know. Haven't no usually the blue with with yellow in it yet, So that dark in that color right there and maybe a little more of this color here. Now switch to brush technique number two. Now get him blend and move things where I want to go. Maybe this come out there a little farther. This could go there, go back to stick meat. Never wanted to get some more of that yellow. Now the water should do some of the work for use. You have to do everything all by yourself. If you get the water going, you couldn't get some interesting effects there. And a little bit more of this color. That's the red with the blue, a little bit more that so you go back and forth between your techniques until you are pleased with what you have. Now, if you overmix it again, just like the landscape painting, it's gonna all turn brown. We don't really want that. So ah, full with us just a little bit more. And now I need to use brush technique number three, which is removal because that's a little too much water and paint there, and you get a different effect if you remove paint. So I am gonna be working on that little bit longer. But now you get the idea. So now that blend that a little bit each each and every one of these spaces will be treated that way so that you will use all six colors. You try to have opposite colors near each other. You've got light and you've got dark. And you've got all six colors working together. Sometimes they get a little bit muddy, and sometimes they stay bright. That's to just take that one off, okay?