Live Encore: Painting Dark Watercolor Backgrounds | Ana Victoria Calderón | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Painting Dark Watercolor Backgrounds

teacher avatar Ana Victoria Calderón, Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Materials Overview


    • 3.

      Achieving Dark Backgrounds


    • 4.

      Painting the First Layer


    • 5.

      Filling in the First Layer


    • 6.

      Painting the First Dark Background


    • 7.

      Painting the Second Dark Background


    • 8.

      Adding Details


    • 9.

      Examples of Dark Watercolor


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Learn to paint stunning, dark backgrounds with watercolors!

Getting rich, dark color with watercolor is possible, and using those colors as the backdrops of your paintings can create stunning contrasting effect. Paint along with watercolor artist and teacher Ana Victoria Calderón and learn how to build gorgeous, rich backgrounds in deep shades. You’ll get to follow along step by step as Ana builds layers of color to saturate her paper with pigment and add tonal depth to her background, and see firsthand how she creates her iconic pieces.

Paint along or just watch to be inspired by Ana’s artistic practice! Students who participated in the live session were able to ask questions, giving you the chance to learn even more details about Ana’s process and hear her advice for watercolor artists of all levels. 


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.


Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Victoria Calderón


Top Teacher

My name is Ana Victoria Calderon, and I'm an American/Mexican artist and author based in Mexico City. I have a degree in Graphic Design with continued studies in Fine Arts. Over the past 10 years I have developed a signature watercolor technique, which I am very excited to share with you!

I teach in person workshops and creative retreats around the world, while licensing my art to amazing companies including Hallmark and Papyrus. I also paint editorial features for magazines, some of my most recent clients are Vanity Fair, Glamour Magazine, International Elle Beauty Awards and InStyle Magazine. In addition to my client work I am the author of four published books on watercolor painting, including "Creative Watercolor" and "Color Harmony for Artists" which are great complement to ... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: This is the question that I get asked the most on Instagram and within my Skillshare classes. How do you get to paint with dark backgrounds using watercolors? It's such a tricky medium, and it's so different than washed, acrylics, or pretty much any medium out there. My name is Ana Victoria Calderon, and I am a watercolor artist, author, and teacher based in Mexico City. You may have seen my artwork on my Instagram @anavictoriana, or here on Skillshare, I have 15 full classes on watercolor painting. I've also published three books all about watercolor painting. Today's live class is going to be all about painting dark backgrounds with watercolor paints. I'm going to share some of my tips for getting super opaque dark watercolor washes and then how to layer your painting with the sketch of a flower. I have a magnolia ready for you. I hope students will take away from this class a better understanding of how your watercolors work and especially the process, the planning, and the layering that's involved in this very technique. This class was recorded live, and I got to interact with the audience as I was painting. Grab your art supplies, and let's get started. 2. Materials Overview: Hey everyone. My name is Danny and I will be hosting on behalf of Skillshare today. We're so excited to have Anna Victoria Calderon teaching us today. I'm a huge fan. It's going to be a really fun and interactive session. Over to you to kick things off Anna. I'm just going to dive right into the supplies that we're going to be using today. You can see here on my desk I have some watercolor paper. It's a really good deal. Canson, if you've ever used this, put a little thumbs up in the chat or something because it's a decent paper. The price is actually really nice, and it's nice and smooth, it's easy to scan with. I like to use it, especially for classes or just projects that I'm going to be scanning. Maybe I'll use more fancy paper like an Arches or something like that for, let's say, a really important painting that I'm going to be using the original [inaudible] something like that. This is actually pretty good paper. Nothing wrong with Canson XL. I'm also going to be using a variety of brushes. I use all different types of brands and types of brushes. Usually the style that I paint with is a little bit more, you would say it's an illustrative style. It's not really that extra flowy look that you get with some watercolor artists, which is beautiful. It's just not the particular style that I paint with. Most of the brushes that I use are synthetic. That means that the bristle is a little bit rigid. It's a little bit stiffer, it's not super soft. I like that because it gives me some control. Right now some of the sizes that I have. They are all round brushes in this case, and I just have everything from a 12 to, I think this is something like an eight. It's not a super fancy brush or anything, but they work fine sometimes for this kind of stuff. Then I have some fancier brushes. I have a Princeton, I have a size one here, and then I have a triple zero. I this is also a Princeton, it's just a different line. This is also triple zero. Then I have this liner brush. You can see it's super thin. These little small brushes are really nice for the tiny, tiny details we're going to have to be getting into today with these dark backgrounds. Then I have just a regular pencil and eraser. I don't know if any of you guys have tried Blackwing pencils, but they're awesome. They're really cool. There's something about them. They're just the best pencil. Then right here, this is just the basic watercolor palette that I use daily. It's a Sennelier. You can see the brand is right here. This is a pen set. I'm not going to dive too deep into supplies because I have done this a lot in my classes, and for time purposes I'm going to keep it a little bit simple. But this is a pen set and just so you know, you can mix and match with different types and brands of watercolors. For example, I also have here a couple of liquid watercolors or [inaudible] some tubes, like that. Right now, this is a Dr. Ph. Martin. That's a Cotman tube paint. Then I have some Holbein here. Really watercolor, the super cool thing about it is how versatile it is, and how great it just mixes with each other. You don't really have to stress about doing something wrong because it all mixes really well together. For demonstration purposes, I'm also going to pull out some extra little inks and stuff that I have here. I'll show you in a minute what these are all about. Then I have a little extra space here for, let's say, maybe there's something that I don't want to mix in. With here, I usually like to have a little small palette here. That's pretty much it. Also for today, if you guys are painting along, I have two different waters here. This is the tub of water that I usually have in my studio. I keep it covered because I have three cats and they will knock over things, and they've ruined tons of paintings in the past, so I always keep this with the lid on in my studio. The reason I'm using two different tubs of water today is because we're going to be painting with very pigmented dark paint. I'm going to keep this blue one for that, like whenever I need to clean my brush with darker paint, and then I'll try to keep this one as clean as possible so that I'll be able to pick up some cleaner water. Also something that's really nice to always have around, just when you're painting with watercolor in general, is just a little piece of paper, or it can be cloth. Right now, I'm just using a little bit of kitchen paper. 3. Achieving Dark Backgrounds: This is a little quick, just like as fun supplies section before we dive into the actual painting of our project. I'm just going to show you some of the ways that I like to paint really dark backgrounds. First of all, if you guys are using a pan set like this, the one thing I will say is that maybe if you're using a more like student grade or maybe like a beginner set of watercolors, you might not be able to achieve these super deep tones. It's totally fine. This paint here it's pretty expensive. But let's be real, watercolor lasts for years. I paint almost every day of my life, and I've had this set forever. I do think it's worth it. But something that you can also do is just buy individual pans for tubes which is great. You can work it out little by little. Right now I'm just grabbing a little bit of water, and what I'm going to do is I'm just going to look at some of these deeper tones, that I have here. I have a bit of violet. Let's just try out some of this green. Then a deep blue like in one of these indigos. You need to really lather this up a bit in order to get that opaque look with watercolor. You'll be able to get these really dark washes like this. That works. The one thing that can happen though, is that if you're painting a really large background, it's not a waste of paint, but there are different ways to achieve these really deep colors. For example, right now I have looked at my watercolor pan. Well, we'll try some really cool dark tone. You can see this is pretty opaque. Honestly, the reason that I can achieve these deeper tones with watercolor is because of the quality of this pan set. Maybe something little like, for example, Crayola set or something like that's very student grade. Honestly would be tough [inaudible]. If there's student language is called Cotman. I know a lot of you use those paints and they are actually pretty great, is to buy a little tube like this. Tube paint in watercolor is a lot much creamier. I don't feel as bad when I'm going to use a lot of it. I don't feel too bad when I just use up a lot of paint when I'm using this type of paint. See, I use this same palette to mix and match everything. As you can tell you have a little bit of color orientation here. I usually use this section of my built-in palette to produce dark tones where I mix them all in here. For example, what I just squeezed onto my palette, this is actually when [inaudible] , but it's [inaudible] , it's student grade. But when I'm using a tube, I can get a lot of this creaminess and it's moist, so you don't have to lather up your pans up too much and you'll get a really nice start. Look at how beautiful that is. It's a really dark color. That's it. This is a Payne's gray, which is one of my favorite tones. It's like a very deep gray that's split with a bluish tint. You can see how great that is. What I'm trying to say here is that don't worry too much about the brand, but try and discover where you can get these really deep tones. Another really cool tip is, for example, I saw some of you guys in the chat talking about Dr. Ph. Martin's, and the really cool thing about this brand, I really like the radiant concentrated line. There's hydrous, there's different types of Dr. Ph. Martin's, yes. I just saw a chat popped up and someone say [inaudible] is honey-based. Yes, that's what the vacuums did like that, really cool by me Buy to it. Coming back to Dr. Ph. Martin's, these paints here, they're liquid. They have some downsides to them, for example, they're not very lightfast. They have a few things, but they're really great, especially if you're going to be scanning your work later on, because they're super vibrant. What I like to do with these paints is I don't usually just paint directly. I wouldn't drop this here or even paint directly with it. What I like to do personally is I like vibrancy in my art, but I also like to make it a little bit more moodier to deepen it up a bit. This is the color that I put in here. You can see it's a little bit translucent. What I'm going to do is add a tiny bit of this two pink here and just mix it in with the Dr. Ph. Martin. That's going to give me a really cool, moody, turquoise, deep color. You can see it there. It's so beautiful. One of the beautiful things about watercolor is how it just dries in all these mysterious ways and all this fun texture that we get here. That's a fun tip if you want to get a dark color, but add some radiance to it. You can mix in a little bit of, for example, something like this, which would be Dr. Ph. Martin, and this is juniper green. It's one of my favorite tones. I also have a little bit of violet here, some black. Then there's all kinds of fun things that you can do too. I'll show you some examples as we finish. For example, this is just regular India ink. This isn't actually watercolor, it's just plain ink. I'm actually going to just put a little here to demonstrate because I will be using it to do that much, but I get asked a lot in the discussion boards and classes, a recurring question will be, what if I want a really flat? Because watercolor is moody. It does all these weird texture stuff, which is why we use it. But check out what happens when you use the black ink, which we can also do as a background. It's super opaque. It's very easy to move around, unlike, for example, acrylics and watch that have some texture to it. Ink like this, it's a really cool medium. It's really nice. I'll show you some externals where I've used that in the past. You don't have to use the brands I'm using. One time a student gave me this fun little indigo watercolors. Well, this is indigo color. This is called CFM. They're very artisanal handmade. Okay, that's fine. I just try it out and they work out great too. For me, supplies, it's about number 1 also, availability. Not every country has every type of brand. You guys know I live in Mexico, so it's not that easy to get all the types that, for example, shipping within the US would have. For example, you can see I just tried this out and it's actually not as opaque as I would like. I would have to go in and experiment and see, maybe do I need to add some more in? Or would I mix it in with one of my tubes or something like that. It's all about testing on your supplies. But before we dive deep into this, I really wanted to show you just some tips for getting that really opaque wash. There we go. This one, for example, just needed a little bit more paint, and we got there with that really deep color. It's actually really nice. It's really pretty. 4. Painting the First Layer: I have this little flower that I'm going to paint. What I'm doing now is prepping the colors. I'm using a little bit of opera pink. I have a little bit of ocher here on my palette. Also, someone asks about color theory, like color mixing, and stuff. The one thing I will say if you haven't taken any of my classes or if you have, you'll know this by now. But it's really important to prepare your colors and not just grab some color directly from your pan or anything. You need to make up your own colors, play around, have some organic colors; some colors that are just your own color. What I like to do is I would like to start out with a base of maybe three to four tones that I'm going to have here. That way, the entire thing will look more interesting too. In this area here, this will become my flower section. This will be where all these more pinkish tones are going to be. It's very watery. See the amount of water that I'm adding. Because this is going to be number one, my lightest tone, and also my more translucent, transparent tone. Right now what I'm going to do is just start painting in these petals individually one by one. I'm going to keep it very light, very watery, and mixing in a little bit. You can see on my palette here, like for example, maybe what I might do is I might go a little bit warmer, peachy when I'm inside the petals. This is my first trick. When you're painting your more transparent layer, you don't have to be super precise. If you go out of your pencil drawing for a bit, that'll work out fine because eventually, what's actually going to give you your really harsh border is going to be your dark background. That's a fun little tip. You'll realize this as we continue painting. What I'm doing now is another lesson in watercolors. Obviously, you have to prevent bleeding from one section to the next. Right now, one of the things you have to keep in mind is I painted this first petal. Obviously, I have to wait for this to dry before I can paint the one that's right next to it. Otherwise, it'll all just blend in together and do what's called bleeding. Watercolors all have this strategy, you have to think of, "All right, what goes next?" When you do, is you just start to see like, "Okay, I can tell that as these two dry, I can paint this petal on this side and this petal up here." That way you're not just sitting around and waiting for paint to dry all the time. I'm just going to go in with these. Again, I'm just grabbing a little bit more of the ocher as I go more into the middle here. That'll just give it a fun little texture. As you can see, it's very transparent. There's a lot of water here. Remember that one of the basic rules for watercolor is we use the white of our paper as our white. The more water that you add, the lighter your tone will be, the more transparent it will be. Whereas if we were painting with an opaque medium wash, for example, or acrylic, we would be adding in white paint to get these lighter tones. Just a little fun watercolor tip there. Now, what happens? Now I have these four petals here and I could either just sit around and wait for all of these to dry in order for me to continue painting in here. But what I'm going to do instead is start thinking like, "Okay, what can I paint next while these four petals dry?" Then I'm going to do like, "Okay, well, I'll just start doing these leaves." Here's a little extra color mixing lesson for you. Let's say I'm going to use this dark turquoise that I had already mixed in that little demo, and some of these paint is great for my backgrounds. I have some of this ocher, which is a yellowish tone [inaudible] in my flower. What I'm going to do is instead of just grabbing green right off the bat, I'm going to actually grab a little bit of this ocher, which is going to be my yellowish hue. If you guys have taken my classes before, you know that ocher is one of my favorite tones, this is like mustard yellow. What I'm going to do is actually grab a little bit of this like turquoise, well, it's actually that juniper green, and mix it in here. What this does if you've taken my color theory class, this would be the parents are the ocher and the blue, and then you start mixing them all together. This is what's going to give me that very cohesive color palette in the end. I'm not grabbing just a random green. I'm making my own green with the base colors that I've already been using. That's a really good tip in general for having a nice color palette. What's really cool about watercolors, you can just go in with some water and begin just like blending these colors. For me right now it's just like a very intuitive process. That's how I see it. Then I'm just going to grab some plain clean water and go in here. If you hear a cat snoring, it's because she's sleeping behind me. Right here, I'm not sure if you guys do. I'm not sure if any of you guys have used that color mixing tip before, but it's very, very nice, especially if you want to get a very cohesive color palette. I like to call this style cousins. They're all little cousins because they come from the same grandparents. For example, my source of yellow is that ocher. My source of blue is this turquoise that I already had put on here. Even if I wanted to darken it up a little bit, I can use a little bit of that indigo which I'll use in the background too, and you can just mix a little bit of that in here. That way you're using it's like this entire same color palette in every section that you're painting. It's a really nice tip for having that cohesive. Same thing here. I have these petals, I have to wait for these to dry. In the meantime, what can I do? I'm going to paint this little stem. Another tip is always moving around your paper. You have to use your hands. Sometimes it's really important for you to have some sort of balance here, a little bit of support. What I'm doing here is going in and I'm actually going to grab just a little bit of that clean ocher to make this slightly different than the color of the leaves. Ocher is almost like a very warm brownish tone too so it fits in nicely there. Again, I'm painting, as I said in the beginning, it's fairly illustrative style of painting where you could also do this just very free and flowy with just one brush stroke. But that's just not the particular style that we're aiming for today. We are going for this more precise and illustrative style. As my paint is wet, you can just go in and grab different tones of the greens that I've prepared. Actually right now I'm not being super careful about where I'm painting because as I said before, and you'll see as we continue, the real thing that's going to define your actual border is the dark background. 5. Filling in the First Layer: We have the stem, we have these leaves, and then you go back and you say, what can I continue painting where I won't have everything bleed together? A nice tip is to actually go in and touch. You can touch these and right now I say, "Okay, it looks dry, but it's not dry." I just dabbed it and it's still a little bit moist for me. What else can I do? I have this area wet, let's go in and see what else we can paint. I'm going to go back to my friend ocher here. This ocher color, this is what's going to tie the entire design and together too because I'll be using it here and I'm going to use it for my little moons. Sometimes it's fun to have these separate design elements where you can work on, and I wouldn't have started with these because I knew that I was going to have to wait for some of this stuff to dry, so I saved these for this very precise moment. I'm just going in here and continuing with this. This is right now straight up ocher. That's all it is. I didn't mix anything else. As I was saying, all these colors are going to be cousins, this is one of the grandparent colors. I know I don't have any salt with me, but if you guys have taken my modern watercolor class, this might even be a fun moment where you can add a tiny touch of salt into these to give it that moon texture. You don't have to, but it's just fun to play around with it, and sometimes even the watercolor itself will give it a good enough texture. Here I'm going in with these top moons, I'm sorry, I was out of frame a little bit, and just filling in here. Again, I'm not being extra careful right now because I know that in the end, where I have to be really careful is when I'm painting my dark background. Right now I'm just doing these very translucent, transparent washes. All of this will be surrounded by the dark background. It's like a negative space thing. See, I'm already starting to progress here. I have these sections. This is drying. It's okay. As I continue to paint these areas here, the little moons will dry. Now, I'm going to continue and wet my petals, and just grabbing some of this paint that I have here, mixing in a little bit. I finally see this is doing better, it's drying. Going in here and just continuing to paint these petals. There's two ways to approach this. One, is you can observe a photo, and you can be, where exactly are all the shadows here, and which petal is going to be darker, or you can just do it very intuitively in your own personal artistic expression. What I like to do is make sure that some of these petals are way lighter than other ones are. That gives it a very interesting just play on design and depth. Sometimes I'll even have my water here, sometimes you'll have your color. You're just going to grab some clean water and just play around with that. For example, right here I'm being a little bit more careful with this border because the leaf and the petal are very close. They're going to be bordering each other there. I'm being a little bit more careful there. I'm going in with this ocher here in the center. I see a lot of you painting along with me, which is very fun. I'm glad that some of you brought your actual flower drawing ready, so you're ready to dive in. Again, just grabbing a little bit more plain water. Now I'm free to paint. For example, these two are bordering each other, these two petals, and that's totally fine because this first one has dried completely and that allows me to continue painting. This one has a little bit extra ocher in it too. Danny, I don't know if you're there, but right now, I see things popping up, so I'm happy to answer any questions that are coming in as I continue with painting my first layer here. I'm here. Everyone's just commenting on the color theory class being super helpful, so I'll drop a link into it so that if you want to bookmark it for later, you can. But other than that, no other questions. Awesome. I'm glad to see a lot of the people here are painting along with me. That's very exciting. I'm excited to see everyone's work at the end too, or however much progress you make. It'd be cool to see. Yeah. Let me see. Actually now we have a couple of questions coming in about any tips for us getting a smooth wash. A smooth wash. What I want to know is if you mean smooth wash, as in not too much texture or maybe being a little bit more specific with that. Because one thing that I do see students a little bit frustrated with sometimes is, make sure you're not trying to make your watercolors be something that they're not. I think that's an interesting way to approach it because, for example, if you're looking for a flat surface, something with no texture or these weird, for example, like the cauliflower effect, which is very beautiful. It is a unique thing that happens only with watercolor, you might want to look into trying a different technique out. Because if you're looking to have very flat, smooth surfaces, anything from acrylic, to wash, or ink, might be a better medium for you. That's a little tip there. When we paint the background, you'll see how I do that, and there is a trick to not letting the edges dry, and we'll go into that. Got you. That's super helpful. There was one other question about just if you're painting something light right now, like tiny stars, should they paint them now as the lightest thing or leave them white? Cool. That question is getting a little bit ahead of where we're going next, which is something that I'll be demonstrating. There's different ways that you can go about that. Awesome. Cool. We'll get to that, Sarah. Yeah. Thanks for asking. We'll for sure get to that. It's a really good question and I know that a lot of people wonder about that. For example, what Leann says here, she says it's probably too much water if you're getting unwanted blues. The key word here is unwanted. Because for most watercolor artists, they actually do want those blues, which is similar to that cauliflower effect I said, see this here that we had here, for example, this texture, this is beautiful for me. This is one of the main reasons that I really like using watercolors. I like this. This is what I'm going for. I see someone else is saying, embrace the texture, Alexander is saying. For me, that's really what watercolor is about. It's knowing how to appreciate all this amazing texture. Watercolor, it works for you in that way, in the sense that there's not much to do. Just wait for those beautiful happy accidents to happen, and that's just one of the reasons why it's so great. Patricia asked, I guess building on that question on texture and smoothness, are there any tricks or tips that you have for achieving a soft petal texture? Soft petal texture. I'm not sure what that means. Does that mean less texture? For example, these have less texture. There's a number of reasons why. Number 1, it's a very small surface. It's a very small area where I'm painting and there's not really that much room for your paint to flow around. One of the good things here is, someone was saying here, if you're not looking for matches, be careful with your water, and that's totally the right tip. If you are wanting to have just a smoother wash, be careful with the amount of water that you're using. It's a very delicate game you're playing there because on the one hand, if you don't add enough water, the last thing you want to get with watercolor paints is your brush stroke for it to be sticky, unless that's what you're going for, but usually that's not the case. Usually with watercolor, what we want is this very flowy look to it, so yeah, the reason these are very smooth, it's a small area and I don't have any excess water on there. It's just the amount that it needs. Got it. Yeah. We're almost done with this area. Some good questions here I'm seeing is that, could you mix softer pitch matte in ink with concentrated water paint? You can play around with it. You'll get a weird texture. If you've taken my modern watercolor techniques class, we have that little exercise. It's called the little planets where we do all these different experiments with supplies and seeing how one thing reacts to the other. You can do anything you want to do. Will it give you the exact look that you're going for? I can't tell you that. You really just have to play around with it and see what happens, and sometimes you'll get a really interesting unexpected effect. That's the way that I approach mixing and matching my different supplies. Play around with it, see if it does something interesting for you, and if it does, go ahead and continue with that. 6. Painting the First Dark Background: I'm going to do my dark tone, so I'm not going to let this Payne's gray go to waste, the one that I demonstrated a bit before. It's interesting, I'm going to make up my own color. I always do. It's very rare that I would just go in straight, just whatever is in the tube. I like to make up my own colors and that's what really gives your artwork its organic feel to it. Plus, I've been using a little bit of this deep turquoise that I made within here, within the leaf. I want that to be a little hint of that in the background. I'm going to mix that here. I even have a little bit of that indigo liquid that we have. Right now, these three colors look pretty much the same on my palette because they're very concentrated, but there's these subtle differences between them. I'm using a couple of different paints here just to make an interesting background, and it's pretty concentrated. I lathered up a nice amount of paint. Actually, we're going to start painting. I'm going to flip my paper around because I'm going to start at this top area here. You're not going to paint a little tiny outline around everything. You're going to be working in sections. What I'm going to do here is whenever I can use my thicker brush, this is a five, I'm going to go in and make sure, very much, that these edges are dry. Otherwise, pretty much your whole painting is ruined. All of this is dry now. I can go in, and I'm going to use the side of my brush to work around these edges that I have here. It's probably too far away for you to see here, but I think I'm seeing the camera and you can't tell. As I said it before, what's really defining the outline of my painting is this dark wash that I'm doing right now. You can actually paint over your flower and that'll give you really defined edges. For example, you always need two brushes in your hand when you're doing something like this. One of them, this super tiny brush, it's going to allow me to go in. I'm going to actually just do this right now, that may be a little too close, so that you can see closer. There's a lot of tiny, tiny detail work here. You have to be fast. You have to go in, grab some more paint, make sure the edges aren't getting dry, and this is answering one of those questions that I got before about having a seamless background. The trick here is to move fast; pretty much to move as fast and as precise as you possibly can and having all the edges of your surface be wet, keeping them wet. Hey, Ana, people are asking for a refresher on what the background color is again, and how you made it. Yeah. For those of you who are re-watching, just make sure you go back to the little supplies intro, and what I'm using here is I had just a little bit of mix. I have some Winsor & Newton Payne's gray, and that's a tube color, and then I have a little bit of the Dr. Ph. Martin, which is turquoise color. It's called Juniper Green. It's a little bit more bluish, in my opinion, and then, just randomly, I have a little bit of this indigo ink with me. It's like a watercolor. It's like a liquid watercolor. Go back to that video where I shared all the details for having an opaque background to make sure that you're prepared with a really deep color, and also, right now, I can even go in and I'm going to grab some of the indigo off of my paint set and mix that in with this too. It's going to give me a really interesting color that doesn't exist. For example, let's say on Instagram when someone asks, oh, what's that tone you're using in? There's never just one answer to that. It's always you mix your own colors. You mix up your own tones. Right now, what I'm doing is I'm going in, I'm painting around my moon shape here. I actually have these little circles. Notice I'm always grabbing water. It has to become a habit. You have to grab a little bit of water and add it to your edges. Right now, I know that I'm going to be working on this side a little bit more, right here. I have to be really mindful and not let this dry either, so that's why you have to go fast. You have to go in, make sure your edges haven't dried, and that way it'll blend in easily, and just go for it. For example, right now I know, have this large edge here. I'm going to give us a break for a second because I want to go in and finish this part. I'm going to add just a little bit of water here. We will be getting some really cool blooms here, by the way, if you were wondering, since we were talking all about the blooms and stuff. Especially with in-person students, I notice them doing this a lot, where they think that the way to go would be something like this, where you would go in and do an entire outline like that. This is definitely not the right approach because your paint dries much faster than you think it does. Right now, I'm fixing it because I knew that I would be doing it, but make sure you're not doing a full outline before because you'll get the outline. It'll dry and you'll be able to tell. Right now, I'm being very careful, making sure I spread the paint out before that dries. Right now my paint is still dry. I can go in just very quickly, and even adding in more water, I have this puddle, it's this puddle that never dries. Some artists, that's why they work at an inclination like this. You're working with the water. You want that puddle to sit at the edge like that. Right now, we have a pretty small surface, so that might not be super necessary, but a lot of the, for example, classical landscape artists, that's why they paint at an inclination like that. Again, you have to be very vigilant. right now I'm noticing, don't let this area dry here. You were preoccupied here. I'm just going in and painting around my circle. For some of the people who asked about the little stars, you can start leaving tiny circles like that, and you'll be able to have some pure white stars too. You're just leaving in some of that. This is called negative space; we're painting around the shape. Right now I'm continuing to go in. I'm not being crazy precise, for example, with this circle, because I like to have pretty clean drawings, but also it's the artist's hand that in the end is what makes it special, so don't go crazy if it's a little bit wobbly or something. That's just your specific stroke. Once I did this, you finished an area, you can breathe. You can take a little bit of a breather. 7. Painting the Second Dark Background: You go in, and you take a little breather, you're like, I have this smaller area here that can stay wet, flip around, and continue. Right now what's really cool, is since I have this really wet area here you don't even need to grab more paint. You can just go in with spreading around that same paint. Pretty much. You're spreading around that same paint. I'm going in, and this is all wet. This is okay to do because it's wet. If this was dry. I'm not going to forget those little stars. Sometimes I'll remember it, oh I'll leave a little white star in there, but we'll add more later on with different mediums. I have my big puddle here of super wet concentrated paint going in. This is where my very thin brush is. It's going to be pretty much. You couldn't do this without a really thin brush here. You go down like that. Again, I'm trying to paint this as fast as I can. All of these little edges. Sometimes if you have an excess of paint somewhere else where maybe the paint went a little bit wavy you can pick that up, and going in like this. Notice how the real work is in this part. This is where your skill comes in because you need to be really precise here. Good exercises for that are, again, going back to my super basic classes. If you haven't taken it, and you need a little bit of a refresher in doing these really small areas, definitely do the exercises on pulse and precision. Those are super helpful. Just to get the hang of it in practice, and feel comfortable. A lot of [inaudible] is just about having the confidence to know that you can actually do something, you can get it done, and that way you can go faster. You won't be as wildly, for example. You start to feel, for example, "I'm relieved now, this was the hardest part." You can even grab a larger brush at this point. For example, I'm grabbing this, it's a 10 brush. I'm going in, and just doing my little mix here. You can do this very quickly where you can get a lot of painting. Because right here I don't really have to worry about any edges. I can go in very quickly. In the meantime, flip around, and be very mindful. I can't let this area dry. You have to keep it going. You have to keep that puddle active. Again, for example, I'm using the very big brush now, but this edge here, it's pretty simple. It's not one where I would need my really detailed brush. Sometimes a side of your brush can be really helpful for that, of your super-large brush. You go in, and do that. Grab more paint, make sure it's still wet. Then go in again with you're a really small brush. You have all these brushes in your hand. This a critical moment. Then so I have this little area that I need to go in here with my liner brush or my triple zero or my zero, whatever smaller brush that you have. You don't even have to pick up any extra paint. Here we go. See, so it starts to all work out that way. Again, going back, making sure that I'm not leaving any area. Then with this big brush I'm getting as close as I can. But then I realize, do you have some spots there where I'm going to have to go in with my liner brush, and just going ahead and filling this out. Right now I can go really fast because I don't have any very important edges to get to here. I'm going to go ahead, grab my medium-size brush, and go around this circle, moon that I have here. Just carefully paint around this area. If you're noticing here, right now, what's cool about these moons that I did is, I left some of the areas in pure white. That's pretty much the best way to get pure white in your watercolor paper, is by leaving that negative space, leaving some of the space there purposely with no color. Almost done here. I was almost forgetting about this little section here. If you have some extra paint somewhere, you can just go in there and grab that. Just go around here. You have to be pretty careful here, this is what really defines the edge of your painting. All of this little tiny brushwork here. Then you flip it. Notice how there's a lot of movement going on here. The reason I'm doing that is I have to find a place where my hand can actually be where it won't ruin the entire painting because all of this is very wet. With watercolor here, you're really working with a lot of wet paint, and your hand can totally ruin it. Be very mindful of that. Then going ahead here. Danny, if there's any questions, I'm almost done with this big background section, but this is [inaudible] , I'm happy to answer. Great. We're coming in on time too, so I've been keeping a bunch of questions for the end. I'll start asking a couple. Let's do that right now. Amazing. One question was, do you ever add a 2nd layer for the background to achieve more vibrancy? Or is it all about getting it really nice, and dark on the 1st layer? For me, I definitely use 2nd layers. For example, I will use the 2nd layer maybe if I want to tag some shadow to this flower or something like that. But for this, the way that I do it is for texture sake, I do one layer, and I make sure that this one layer is, as I've been explaining here, it's a lot of paint, and a lot of water. That's pretty much the answer. It makes a lot of sense. Then another question a few people had was just about what the style of the moons. If you wanted to add a glow around the moon, would you drop in some water around the edge and add a lighter for example, an orangey color? Or would you leave a gap with the indigo mix to add some glow in there if that was something you were trying to do? I'm going to show you. I'm almost done here. I'll keep that question in mind because I have an illustration here where I did a really interesting glow. It's actually part of a larger, complete sculpture class. I don't know if any of you have taken. It doesn't have too many students, but it's a really end up class, and it's called watercolor gouache, and acrylics, layering, and blending. That class is a super intensive, I would say it's a pretty advanced class where we go all into the layering, the blending with different techniques. Why watercolor is different than other paints? I'll show you that example and I'll tell you which class it's from. But to answer it quickly right now, there's a few things you could do. For time purposes, right now I couldn't really paint a glow into this. But one thing that you can do is add a different medium when this is done. You can wait for the watercolor to dry. Even with colored pencils or with a little bit of gouache or white ink, you can add some really interesting glow around the moon. We'll do some of that quickly after I'm done with this, which I'm almost done with this part. There's a ton of things that you can do. Amazing. Definitely check out that class. I just linked to it in the chat so you can check it out. Then one question here is, when the background is finished, do you do you let it dry by itself or do you use a hairdryer. Do you ever try to do those types of drying techniques for different effects, or textures? I personally never ever use a hairdryer with my watercolor paintings. There's a few reasons. One of them is, it is possible that you might have an accident with the hairdryer. Because for example, see how wet it is, look how wet that is. If I were to blow some warm air on here, the power of the wind, you can have an oxidant. It could splash around. For me, part of the beauty of watercolor is just letting it dry naturally, and see what it does on its own. Nothing wrong with using it, but it's not my preference. 8. Adding Details: Normally, I would wait for this to dry 100 percent before adding any details, but just because we're doing a live session now and I know that we don't have a ton of time. This was a super fast painting for me. I would usually take a couple of days to do something like this where I would add a bunch of detail into it. I'll share with you some really fun tips and mixed media that we can actually start to use with these paintings. This is nothing special, it's a Prismacolor, it's just a regular colored pencil. It's not a pastel or anything or night and watercolor pencil. Just like a basic supply, and you can do some little dots here, where you can start to get stars. You can spread it out like that, see. You can just have some fun with little details like this. For example, if you had to pick one of these, you could go in and do some really cool lines here, you could also do that with watercolor. When I upload the final project, I'll add into detail what extra stuff I did here. For example, right now I'm just doing a little bit of dots. I always like to add some final touches to my painting. See right right it's just a manual thing where I'm doing these little dots, and then you can even go in with, let me see, I have one of these jelly pens, you guys probably know these, they're super common. You can also go in and just do little dots here and you'll start to get a fun night sky. It's all these really fun details. Then inside this larger colored pencil, you can do this and you can just start doing some fun stuff like that. Then another thing that you can do with the mixed media afterwards is, I know you guys go crazy over the metallic watercolors, and here's my collection that I have here, it even has my name on it, it's really sweet. From HydroColor. She does really cool handmade watercolors and look how helpful these are. It's all metallic paints. These are super fun. I don't paint super large surfaces with these or anything, but I'll just set them here. A little detail that you can do is just going in and grabbing some clean water, and then you can go in with a little bit of gold, and start to lather this up. You really need to lather metallic paint in order for it to get a right texture, and it's thick enough. I'm using this color because it reminds me a little bit of the [inaudible] that we've been using here. An example of what I would do here is, maybe for example, the moons. You can leave them white, but you can also have fun and just add a little bit of some gold paint into here. Or you can even go all around and add little dots, and those can be some metallic stars. I mean, it's all about really just having fun with the supplies. What I'll do is I'll take a nice picture of this when I'm done with all the details and it's dried completely, and I'll post that to the class project section. Now you can see some fun details like that. 9. Examples of Dark Watercolor: There are some things that I wanted to show you here, these paintings, for example. You can see them here. All of these are examples using this very technique. It's exactly the same thing, but it takes a few days to actually get things done right. Here's an example of what it would look like with an ocean concept. See? This has a lot of salt in it in the background, that's when you get that fun texture. All these, it's the exact same thing we just did. I was saying before that you don't have to use blue, that's just my personal preference. This is also a really deep green, same technique. I just mixed in the different tubes that I have and I'm trying to find that really deep color. Here's an example of one where I'm using black ink. See how there's not even that much texture to the background, it's very flat. It's watercolor. For example, for the Mona Lisa that I just did, I would usually do some more detail to it like I have here. Then I went around with blacking, exact same technique that we just did, or someone was asking about the glow. For example here, check out that class on layering and blending. I teach you how to do this little moon glow here, and then I think this is also a tutorial on my new book, the lightening stuff. Here's just a really large flower like this. It's the same technique that we just did only a little bit more complex. Moon glow here, this is actually the final project that we did in that class that I was sharing, Danny. Just sharing different ways that this can look. I really like the dark background. This is whacking the dark background. This is a little bit more complicated. I had to move super-fast because besides going all around, I was also blending a blue to a green. The real tip there is just like practice, practice, practice. Get pretty fast. 10. Final Thoughts: Thanks so much for joining me. It was a pleasure spending these moments painting with you. You can find my work on my website, or you can follow me on Instagram also @anavictoria. Please make sure to share your artwork in the project gallery. I'm always checking out whatever it is that you're making and I'm happy to add any comments or just thumbs up for whatever it is that you painted with me.