Watercolour Foundations: A Beginner's Journey into History, Techniques, and Floral Landscapes | Kanchan Kaul | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watercolour Foundations: A Beginner's Journey into History, Techniques, and Floral Landscapes

teacher avatar Kanchan Kaul, Artist and Illustrator

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

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.

      Class Orientation


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Paints & Pigments


    • 7.

      Exercise 1 Paints Test


    • 8.

      Exercise 2 Colour Mixing


    • 9.

      Exercise 3 Watercolour Techniques


    • 10.

      Class Project Poppies


    • 11.

      Class Project Lavenders


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Embark on a captivating artistic journey with this  Beginner's Watercolour Class, designed to unlock your creativity and hone your skills in the world of watercolours. This comprehensive course delves into the fascinating history of watercolours, providing a solid foundation for beginners to understand and appreciate the evolution of this timeless medium.

Throughout the class, we meticulously explore the essential materials that form the backbone of watercolour artistry. From selecting the right paper to understanding the nuances of paints, pigments, and brushes, each component is carefully dissected to empower students with the knowledge to make informed artistic choices.

The hands-on experience comes alive through three engaging exercises strategically placed within the class curriculum.

1. Test the transparency and staining properties of your paints.

2. Perfect the art of colour mixing, and

3. Delve into various watercolour techniques such as wet-in-wet, wet-in-dry, lifting, masking, and wash.

These exercises serve as stepping stones, providing a practical understanding of foundational skills crucial for watercolour mastery.

As the pinnacle of your artistic exploration, the class culminates in the creation of two exquisite floral landscapes. The first project guides you step-by-step with detailed instructions, ensuring a seamless and instructive experience. The second project, however, introduces a unique challenge - a video tutorial without accompanying instructions. Here, you are encouraged to observe, understand, and replicate the project independently, fostering a deeper connection with your creative instincts.

Join this Beginner's Watercolour Class and immerse yourself in a transformative experience where history, materials, exercises, and projects seamlessly intertwine to shape you into a confident and skilled watercolour artist. Unleash your artistic potential and watch your creations bloom with vibrant hues and captivating techniques!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kanchan Kaul

Artist and Illustrator

Top Teacher

Hi, I'm Kanchan!

You probably know me as Petite Procrastinator from Instagram! I am an artist, illustrator and art educator. I love painting and drawing graceful botanical compositions in watercolour, gouache, ink and digital.

From always procrastinating (hence the Instagram handle...ahem!) to can't stop creating--I have come a long way. And here I will share with you all the cool stuff that I have mastered over the years. Watercolours, digital illustrations, sketching - EVERYTHING! I am delighted to have you... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome: Hello and welcome aspiring artists and watercolor enthusiasts. I'm thrilled to have you here as we embark on this exciting journey in the world of watercolors. Hi, I'm Chen Call. I'm an artist, illustrator, and art educator. My work has been used for books, wall arts products, and even tattoos. Since I started my watercolor journey, I have come a long way. Today, I have a strong community of like minded watercolor enthusiasts on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and even skillshare. Over the course of this class, we will explore the fascinating history, origins, material, and a wide array of watercolor techniques. By the end of the journey, you would be equipped to create two beautiful watercolor masterpieces. First, we will delve into the rich history of watercolors, tracing their origins from ancient civilization to modern art. Then we will discover the importance of selecting the right material for your watercolor journey. We will explore the various types of watercolor paper, paints and brushes, helping you make informed choices for your creative endeavors. We will cover everything from washes, layering to wet on wet, and wet on dry techniques. You will have the chance to practice and refine your skills in each of these areas. Next, we will learn about color theory and color mixing. There we will play around with the different pigments and learn about the characteristics. Finally, our ultimate goal is to create two stunning watercolor paintings of this pureful floral landscape. You will apply the techniques you have learned throughout the course to bring these masterpieces to life. As you progress through the class, keep in mind the long term benefits and takeaways that extend beyond the course duration. You will develop a unique means of artistic expression through watercolors, allowing you to convey emotions, stories, and experiences On paper, I can't wait to see your artistic talents Bloom. Let's begin our exploration of watercolors. 2. Class Orientation: I'm so excited to have you in this class. Let me give you a little bit of an introduction to the class. The class starts with exploring the history of watercolors. Then we get into the details of the different materials that are used for water colors, the papers, brushes, and paints. When we learn about paints, we get into the details of the pigment properties and how to read these properties on the paints, based on these pigment properties. We also explore the color mixing and color theories. That would be your first mini project or exercise is to explore the paints that you have and understand their pigments. Have two exercises for that. First we do a transparency test, and then we do a staining test. I encourage you to try these out as well. Next we get into the details of the techniques of watercolors. That is definitely something that you should try it out. Techniques are the fundamental elements of watercolors, and the more you practice, the better you will get. Finally, with all the learnings from the different materials, the exercises that we did to test our paints, the color mixing, and the techniques, we will create two beautiful floral masterpieces. First, sit back, relax, and listen to the history of water colors. It's quite interesting actually. 3. History: The origins of watercolor painting can be traced back to ancient civilizations where it was primarily used for decorative and illustrative purposes. In ancient Egypt, watercolors were employed to create colorful illustrations in manuscripts and on papyrus scrolls. Similarly, Ancient China watercolor painting played a significant role in the artistic tradition. The use of watercolor techniques in Chinese art can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, where it gained popularity for its expressive qualities and versatility. One of the most famous of all Chinese landscape paintings, the Emperor Ming Huang traveling in shoe, is shown here. Watercolor painting made its way to medieval Europe through trade routes and cultural exchanges. Renaissance artists such as Albret Dure, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Hans Holbein the Younger recognized the potential of watercolor as a medium for both studies and finished works of art. Du was a pioneer of watercolor painting and exploited its expressive potential. Over the years, Du painted extremely realistic watercolors of plants, landscapes, newts, and animals. The 18th and 19th century are often referred to as the golden ages of watercolor painting. During this period, watercolor emerged as a distinct and respected medium in its own right. Several factors contributed to this development. One of them was the formation of the Royal Watercolor Society in 1804, which marked a significant moment in the medium's history. Prominent English artists, such as Thomas Griten, John El Cotman, and JMW. Turner were instrumental in elevating watercolor painting to a respective art form. Turner in particular was known for its innovative use of color and lightened watercolor, pushing the boundaries of the medium. As you can see in this artwork, the romantic moment, which swept through Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries, had a profound impact on watercolor painting. Artists like Casper David Friedrich in Germany and John Constable in England used watercolor to convey the emotional and spiritual aspects of the natural world. Constables watercolors were also remarkably free of their time. The most mystical Stonehenge and its double rainbow is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolors ever painted. The 18th and 19th century were marked by a surging exploration and travel, and watercolor played a vital role in documenting these journeys. Explorers and naturalists carried watercolor sketch book to record the flora, fauna, landscapes and indigenous cultures they encountered. Notable artist explorers such as John James Audubon and Thomas Baines used watercolor to document the diverse landscapes and wildlife of the New World and Africa. The late 19th and early 28 centuries witnessed the emergence of impressionism and post impressionism. Both of which had a significant impact on watercolor painting. Impressionist artists like Claude Monet and Burke Moreso, as some of the most famous impressionist painters who used watercolors to their medium. Post Impressionist artists such as Paul Sian, continued to explore the possibilities of watercolor. Sizan's watercolor still Lives and Landscapes exhibited his mastery of the medium and his innovative approach to form and color in contemporary art. Watercolor continues to evolve and adapt to new trends and technologies. As we look back on the journey through time, we can appreciate the contributions of countless artists who have explored the possibilities of watercolor, pushing its boundaries and enriching the world of art. The artists that I've mentioned in this lesson are just a few, and there are so many more who have influenced the watercolor world. In the next lesson, we will learn about the different materials, starting with the paper. 4. Paper: Watercolor paper is a fundamental element in the world of watercolor painting, playing a crucial role in determining the outcome of the artwork. Early watercolor paper were often handmade of various materials, including cotton, linen, and hemp. The 18th century saw their advancement in paper manufacturing techniques, leading to the creation of dedicated watercolor paper. In this lesson, we will learn about the various properties of watercolor paper that is important for an artist to know. Let's first start with the composition. What is watercolor paper made of? The first is the wood pulp. The most affordable watercolor paper, as well as those found in many watercolor sketch books, but they are not as durable as cotton paper. Then we have the cotton papers. Cotton linters are the purest source of cellulose and their fibers are longer than the wood free pulp, Making a durable paper that can take heavy treatment. Most 100% cotton watercolor papers are made using cotton linters. Then we have a blend of both. A percentage of cotton linters in these papers adds strength and durability while being more affordable than 100% cotton papers. Finally, we have the cotton rag papers, which are made with recycled cotton textiles. Cotton textiles are made using the longest fibers of the cotton plant. Cotton rags make even stronger paper than cotton linters alone. My got to paper is always 100% cotton watercolor paper. This is 100% cotton and it has amazing water holding capacity. That's the reason why I prefer this Archers is another brand which has 100% cotton watercolor paper. But these 100% cotton papers tend to be a little bit more expensive for practice. I'm okay with using paper which is probably a mix. For example, I have this travel journal which is not 100% cotton paper. But it works well for just practices which doesn't require too much water treatment and layers and washes. But if you're painting something which has landscapes with a lot of layers of water and you want something which needs to hold a lot of water, I would highly recommend using 100% cotton paper. The next property of watercolor paper is acidity. What is acid free and why is it important? The natural deterioration of legnin, which is a natural part of the plant, sells and paper causes the paper to become acidic and break down. This makes most cheap, normal paper unsuitable for long term use in storage. That is why we have the acid free, also known as the archival paper that can last for more than 1,000 years. The next property of watercolor paper is the texture watercolor paper. Textures can be classified into three different types. First, we have the rough texture. This type has a pronounced texture, making it ideal for artists who want to achieve a more textured and expressive look in their paintings. Then we have the cold pressed, which is also known as the knot. This paper has a moderate texture, providing a balance between smoothness and texture, making it a popular choice among watercolor artists. Finally, we have the hot pressed, hot press Paper is very smooth, enabling finer details and more precise press work. The choice between rough, hot, pressed, and cold press paper is entirely upon you and the style of painting that you're into. Usually for landscapes, people prefer a rough rugged paper because it gives more textures for very detailed botanical artwork. They would prefer hot press paper. I prefer the cold press because it is somewhere in between the two. It gives the texture, but it also allows me to add details. Some of the coldpress paper can be quite rough as well. It really depends upon your choice what kind of paper you want to select. The final property of the paper is the weight. You will see that watercolor paper weight is depicted in many different forms. The metric method to measure the weight and grams of a single sheet of paper, calculated to be exactly 1 meter square grams per square meter, or GSM, is the best way to measure the paper. Ideally, a 300 GSM paper is the best to get started with watercolor painting. However, most sketchbooks come with lighter paper of around 200 GSM, which is okay for your on the go painting or practice. The weight of the paper is important, especially when you have artwork which requires a lot of water holding capacity. Again, 100% cotton papers hold a lot of water. 300 GSM papers would be nice and thick and will be holding a lot of water as well. But if it's anything lesser than that, then you will not be able to do too many layers because thinner papers don't really hold water that well. Water colors is all about water. A 300 GSM paper is the minimum, I would say, that you require, even for practice. In conclusion, watercolor paper has a rich history and comes in various types, each with unique characteristics and properties. I hope with the information that you have learned in this lesson, you are able to choose the perfect type of paper for your artwork. Next, we will explore the brushes. 5. Brushes: The use of brushes for painting traces back to ancient civilization, with early brushes made from materials such as animal hair, plant fibers, and feathers. Over time, brush makers experiment with various animal hairs and synthetic fibers to cater to different techniques and preferences. In this class, we will study the watercolor brushes. The choice of brush that you use for your artwork highly depends upon your style. But it is always good to understand the different shapes as well as the hair types for you to make an informed decision. Let's start with studying the anatomy of a brush. The brush can be divided into the handle, where you will see the size as well as the branding. Then we have the crimp. On top of that, we have the ferrule, then the head can be divided into the belly as well as the tip or the point. Now let's look at the different shapes of the brushes. What a color brushes come in various types, each designed for specific purpose and techniques. We have the round brushes. These brushes have a pointed tip and are versatile for various stars, such as detailed work washes and fine lines. Then we have the flat brushes. Flat brushes have a straight edge and are ideal for broad strokes washes and precise lines. We have the mop brushes. Mop brushes are full rounded shape, and are excellent for applying large washes, blending and softening edges. The rigger brush. The rigger brush have long fine hair suitable for creating fine lines, details, and calligraphy. We have the special fan brush. Fan brushes feature a flat fan shaped head, making them useful for texturing, blending, and foliage effects. It's also good to mention the brush brushes have a white flat head made from soft, natural hair. They are popular for broad washes and glazing. Of course, the list of the type of brushes is very long, but these are just some of them which you might use more often. The second aspect of watercolor brushes is the hair type. Watercolor brush. Hair types play a crucial role in determining the brushes, performance, durability, and versatility. The choice of brush hair affects how an artist applies and manipulates watercolor pigments on paper brush. Hair type can be classified broadly into natural hair brushes as well as synthetic hair brushes. The natural hair brushes made from animal hair, whereas the synthetic hair brushes are made from synthetic fibers. Even if you are opting for a synthetic hair brush, it is always good to know the characteristics of a natural hair brush that you want from your synthetic hair brush. Let's talk about the different characteristics of the natural hair brushes first. First, we have the sable hair. Sable hair brushes are priced for their fine quality and have a long history in brush making. The term sable refers to the hair of a Siberian weasel, priced for its fine point and water retention. Sable hair is known for its ability to hold a large amount of water and pigment, allowing for a long, continuous stroke without frequent reloading. They do have a fine point which makes it ideal for detailed work and delicate lines. The other aspect of checking hair is the spring or the snap. They return to their original shape after each stroke, providing control, responsiveness to artists hand in natural hair brushes. We should also mention the squirrel hair brush. Squirrel hair brushes are made from hairs of squirrel. Squirrel hair holds a substantial amount of water and pigment, making it ideal for creating soft washes and blending Squirrel hair brushes are exceptionally soft, though allowing for smooth and gentle brushwork. They have less nap or spring compared to the sable hair brushes, which may affect the control and detailed work. They're best suited for large washes and backgrounds, landscapes and expressive loose styles. But these days, more and more artists are opting for synthetic hair brushes. Synthetic hair brushes are very high quality and mimic the natural hair brushes very closely. They're more durable and natural hair brushes and less likely to damage over rough handling. They're great for big ness and artists on a budget or artists seeking cruelty free options. Understanding the characteristics of different watercolor brush hair types is essential for artists to choose the right tool for their specific needs. Whether it's the precision of sable hair, the softness of squirrel hair, or the versatility of synthetic brushes. Artists can leverage these characteristics to enhance their watercolor creations. In the animal hair brushes, there are many different types. But I've only covered the sable hair as well as the squirrel hair. Because those are more relevant to watercolors. You even get a blend of synthetic plus animal hair brushes, which might be a little bit more affordable than pure animal hair brushes. Go ahead and explore the various brushes and see what works for you, pest. In the next lesson, we will get into the details of the paints that are used for watercolors. 6. Paints & Pigments: Watercolor painting is a captivating art form known for its translucent, fluid, and vibrant qualities. Watercolor paints come in various types, each with unique characteristics that cater to different artistic preferences and techniques. The primary distinction revolves around their form and composition. Watercolors are made up of finely ground pigments suspended in a binder made with gum Arabic, distilled water, and other additives to preserve and stabilize the paint. Now let's look at the different types of watercolor paints. Watercolor paints can come in tubes, tube. Watercolors are highly pigmented and can be easily reactive with water, making them ideal for vibrant and expressive paintings. Then we have the pan watercolors. Pan Watercolors come in solid, dried form within a small pan or half pans, portable and convenient for plan air painting or travel pan. Watercolors are activated with a wet brush, and their consistency is often lighter and more transparent compared to tube watercolors. Liquid watercolors are highly concentrated pigments that come in bottles with drop or pipits. They offer intense color and are commonly used for techniques like pouring and dripping liquid. Watercolors are versatile and can be diluted to achieve various level of transparency. I think we should also mention guache. Guache is a unique type of watercolor paint known for its opacity. It contains a white pigment which makes it more opaque than traditional transparent water colors. Guache is often used for illustrations in design where solid color coverage is desired. Lastly, we have the watercolor pencils. Watercolor pencils are water soluble pigments. In a pencil form, artists can sketch with these pencils and then blend the colors with a wet brush. They are useful for detailed work and adding fine lines or accents to watercolor paintings. Now let's take a closer look at the properties of watercolors. Properties, or watercolors, are actually defined by the pigments which are used to create those watercolors. The good news is that we can read these properties. They will be defined by the different brands. But the bad news is that each brand has its own way of defining these properties. For example, I have an indigo which is from Ns and Newton Cotman which is a student great watercolor. I have the indigo from Shinhan PWC, which is an artist's great watercolor. Both these colors will have different properties, even though they are called indigo because they are using different pigments in their mixture. Now how do we know that? Let's get into the details. Every color will have a name which is called the common name. In this case, indigo is the common name which will be mentioned on the tube. Even in PWC, it's called indigo. They may look similar, but like I said, depending upon the pigments which are used, they have different properties. When I say properties, that means things like light fastness, staining, granulation, permanence, et cetera. Before we start looking at the properties, we need to know the pigments, how to read the pigments. Look at the back of this tube, for example. For the Shinhan, you can see the indigo pigment is defined here, which is P B 66. Now what does that mean? Each pigment is defined by an abbrevation. Pb stands for blue. Similarly, we have PW which is for white, Y for yellow, PO for orange, PR for red, PV for violet, B for blue. Like I mentioned, PG for green, PBR or NBR for brown, and PBK for black. Now let's look at the pigments for the student grade cotton color. Here you can see the pigments are used are three different pigments, PBK seven, PB 29, and PB 15. Usually, student grade paints will be made with different pigment mixtures to make them more affordable. Artists grades as much as possible will stick to a single pigment to make it more rich in color, but also more expensive when you see these pigments based on their mixture. Since PWC uses only one pigment, while the student grade uses three different pigments, they will have different properties. Now let's look how to read the properties. Sometimes the student grade paints will be skipping on these details. You might sometimes find it online, but that is not guaranteed either. But for the artist grade paints, you will definitely have these details either online on their color chart or on the tubes starting with Winsor and Newton professional grade colors. In this, the first property will look at as permanence, which is defined at the front of the tube. With permanence, a mentioned here, paints deteriorate over time when we have the permanence. In this case, it is defined by alphabets. Aa is extremely permanent, which is the most durable. Then we have A, which is defined by these two tubes, which is permanent. Then we have as well, which is moderately durable. In general, as long as you take good care of your paintings artwork, it should be fine. Permanent is good to know, but probably not something that should be defining the way you choose your pigments. The next property is the transparency. You can see that the watercolors are defined by four levels of transparency, transparent, semi transparent, semi opaque, and opaque. Now let's look at the tubes again. In the case of the Quinacrodone Gold, this is a transparent pigment. As you can see, it has a blank square which is a transparent pigment symbol. When I look at the cadmium free deep red tube, has a opaque symbol which is completely black square. This is how you can read the different tubes. By Vincent Newton. Now let me show you another brand which is the Shinhan PWC Paints, which is another of my favorite brands for the Pre WC brand. You can see that transparency is defined the same way as Winsor and Newton. We have four different transparency types. Here you see the term light fastness is used instead of permanence. The difference between light fastness and permanence is that permanence is a more holistic term which looks into not just the degradation of paint or pigments over time by exposure to sunlight, but also the degradation of paint or pigments with age. However, light fastness is only looking at the degradation of paints over time with exposure to sunlight. In case of Winsor and Newton, we are looking at the overall degradation of the paint over time, while in case of PWC, we're looking at only the light fastness of these paints. Similarly, there's another brand, which is the Schminke brand, which uses different notations to indicate its properties. Light fastness are defined by stars, but in this case they have six different levels, and five stars being extremely good. Then transparency is again defined by four different levels, which seems to be common across brands. But in this case, they also have a triangle that defines sustaining semi staining and non staining properties of watercolors. This is slightly different from the other plants. The staining property of watercolors basically means how easy it would be for you to pick up the paint from the paper. I know these properties are too much. We're going to do a little bit of a test in our next lesson to understand these properties better. But for now, all you have to do is understand how to read these properties on the charts. There is one more property of paints which is called the granulation property. Now this is not shown on the charts, usually because some of the marketed as granulating paints. Granulation is actually just a natural property of certain pigments to agglomerate on the paper. This is not a lack of quality, but it can be used consciously for special effects. For example, you can see here, I have used granulation to create these dramatic landscapes. To sum it up, we have four different properties of paints, transparency or opacity. Staining or non staining. Light fastness, or the permanence of these paints and granulation. Next, we will have two short exercises to test your paints for transparency as well as staining. 7. Exercise 1 Paints Test: So let's do a test of transparency. I have these four colors with me. The quinacridone gold, opera rose, yellow ochre, and cadbium yellow, pale. They are all of different transparency levels. The quinacridone gold is transparent, opera rose is semi transparent, yellow ochre is semi opaque, and cadmium pale yellow is opaque. For us to test transparency, what we will do is make four lines with a permanent marker, which is not water soluble. I have this paper with me, which is the watercolor paper. Let's start with the transparent color, which is the Quinacridone gold. You can see the black line that we created is quite visible from the paint. This property is important for us to know about paints because we use paints to layer each other up on watercolor paintings. For you to know which one will be, the top layer will be the one which is more darker or more opaque. This property is important in that aspect. This is Quinacridone gold and this is how it behaves. Now let's see a semi transparent color. The semi transparent paint I have is the Opera Rose. It's very difficult to see the difference between a semi transparent and semi opaque, in my opinion. But we'll try again. I'm making a thick consistency, but not too thick of the paint. You can see this paint lays more on the black. The black is less visible than it was in that one because this is semi transparent. You can still see the black, but not so much. In fact, let's wait for it to dry and see how it looks. Next, we have a semi opaque paint. This one is the yellow Oca, and let's see how this behaves. But you can see the paint is settling in more on the black as compared to the other colors. It is closer to opaque, I would say. I can almost completely hide the black if I want, but not fully. That's why it's semi opaque. Something like this. Okay, now let's see an opaque paint. For opaque, I have a cadmium yellow pie with me. You can see in one stroke I could cover so much of the black and it's covering the black line completely, almost. This is a test for opacity. If you buy some new paints and you want to test for opacity, this is how you will test it. All right. The next test that we want to do is the staining test. I have three colors here, again with me, which have the staining information. I use Minke because they give the staining information on the tube itself. But for Vince and Newton and some other plans, you might have to go online and check their staining information. And the easiest thing to do for staining test is actually do it yourself. And probably keep a record of it yourself because it's handy. And then eventually it is. An important aspect of water color is for you to know why staining information is important because this gives you the information whether this paint can be easily lifted from the paper or not. By lifting, I mean picking up the paint from the paper is basically for techniques like this where you want to show a little bit of the white area to pop out of your paint and show a highlight. That technique is important, the lifting technique. We will learn more about it as we go on. For now, we want to know how to test your paints for staining property. Now, I have three paints here. One has the information of a triangle without any color, which is non staining color. Then I have the semi staining, which is the half triangle semi staining. And then I have the staining color, which is this one which has a triangle with full color. Let's test all of this. Let's start with the non staining. Non staining paints will be the easiest to lift from paper because they don't settle into the grains of the paper easily. That could also be the property of the paint itself, the pigment that is used to create that paint. Let's see this color, which is the galaxy brown. Let's swatch this. I'm going to make three swatches of this different colors. And then I'll wait for them to dry up before I lift it out, to see how easy it is to lift out a paint. When in a semi dry condition, Usually a wet condition paint might be easy to lift off. It really depends upon the pigment actually, this one is a non staining and I'm going to let it semi dry. Before I do the lifting test, I'm going to do the semi staining paint swatch as well. This is my semi staining paint. Finally, I'll swatch the staining paint. All right. Now let's do the test. What I'm going to do is take a dry brush, it's actually a damp brush. Wet your brush a little bit. It's then tapped on the paper to remove all the excess water. It's a clean, damp brush. I'm going to pick up the paint now and see how this behaves. This is dried and non staining paint, and you can see it lifts off pretty easily. This property is important especially for botanical art when you want to show highlights and this is how you would use this technique. Okay, now let's do the same thing for the semi staining. While we were waiting for it to dry up, I marked all of them semi staining. One is the one in the center. I'm going to try and lift it off with the brush. You can see it does lift off, but it leaves a little bit of residue behind. It's not as clean as the one which we had in the non staining one. Finally, we have the staining one. Let's do the same thing for that, try to lift it off with the damp brush. You can see the staining one has very similar look to the semi staining, but it does leave a lot more residue in some areas. For example, in this area. It is not lifting off easily. This is a property of the pigment which is used to create this paint. It's good to know this information because lifting is an important technique in watercolors since we cannot have white paint in watercolors. Lifting is the only way for us to show highlights, For you to know which paints are staining and which are for you to be able to plan your artwork accordingly. It is important for you to know your paints. I hope with these two exercises, you have a better understanding of the paints. In the next lesson, we will explore the color theory. 8. Exercise 2 Colour Mixing: Theoretically, it's possible to mix any colors with just three primary colors. Red, yellow, and blue. Mixes made from two primary colors are known as secondary colors. And mixes which are made from three primary colors are known as tertiary colors. In practice, however, especially for water colors, it can be difficult to find pigments pure enough to do this. Watercolors have this tendency of mixing into muddy colors. This is because the pigments don't get along with each other. They don't really mix to form a secondary color that we desire. Hence, it is even more important for us to understand the pigments which are being used in these paints. What we recommend generally for water colors instead, is to have six primary colors, which is three cool primary colors and three warm primary colors. Let me use Winsor and Newton as an example. They actually do mention the three primary colors as well as the six extended primary colors, both for the professional grade as well as the cotton series. I would highly recommend you have a look at that and select the pigments and not the color names from the brand that you use. Then experiment with the color mixing here. In this example, I have three primary cool colors on top and three primary warm colors at the bottom. I have created this color wheel by mixing them together. This is a great exercise for you to understand how your colors behave. As you can see, three primary colors on top create lighter, brighter shades of the mix secondary colors, while the three primary colors at the bottom, which are the warmer colors, create slightly duller mixes. Your own palette or choice of colors will evolve naturally as you try out new colors, different brands, and different kinds of paintings. In the next lesson, we will explore the different watercolor techniques. 9. Exercise 3 Watercolour Techniques: In this lesson, we will explore the various techniques of watercolor. These techniques of watercolor are the fundamental elements of starting with watercolor painting. I encourage you to follow along with me. The first technique that we will see is the wet on wet technique. The idea about wet in wet technique is that the paper is wet, and on top of that, you apply wet paint. Here I've added water in the shape of a leaf. On this wet paper, I will drop wet paint. Hence, this is called wet and wet technique. The wet in wet technique is usually used to create the first layer of an artwork. The wet in wet technique can be a little tricky to control since the paint will do its own thing on a wet paper. But it's also really fun and the essence of water colors. I encourage you to go ahead and try it out. The more you paint, the better you will get with this technique. Now the next technique that we will see is the wet and dry technique. This is nothing but wet paint which is added on dry paper. This is usually used to add top layers or details like here I'm adding the wins for the leaf using the wet and ray technique. Now the next technique that we will see is the lifting technique. A lifting technique is slightly more advanced technique, I would say. It's something that requires more practice. Usually, this technique is done to show highlights in your watercolors. I had mentioned that before that we don't have whites in watercolors. For us to show these highlights and whites, we need to know how to lift the paint off the paper. In this technique, what I do now is use a damp brush. This brush does not have too much water. I have just dipped it in my jar of water and removed all the excess water. Using this damp brush, I'm going to touch up the areas where I want the highlights to show, which makes the paint wet again. Then I'm going to use this paper towel to dab and lift out the paint. This will show the paper underneath, making it look like a highlighted area. This technique definitely needs some practice. Go ahead and try it out. Now let's look at the glazing technique. In this technique, you basically add light wash or light layer of another color on top of your artwork to give it a different tone. Here on top of the leaf, I'm adding a yellowish tinge to give it a little bit of a sunlight effect. At the second half of the leaf, I'm adding bluish tinge to give it a shadow effect. You can use this technique to show shadows or sunlight. Or if you want to have a reddish tinge during sunset, something like that, that's when you will be adding a glaze on top of your artwork. All right. The next technique is called the masking technique. This technique is generally used to show smaller details which you cannot do through lifting technique. In watercolors, it's very difficult to save your whites because we don't have a white color in watercolor. There are times when you want really minute white or lighter areas to be there, which can't be done very easily unless you use this masking fluid. I have this masking fluid pen which is slightly easier to use, but you will also get masking fluid in a liquid form. If you have a liquid masking fluid, then I would suggest you use an old brush to apply it on the paper because it can be damaging to your brushes. What I do now, I have this first layer which I've added of a lighter tone of green. Then on top of that I'll add masking fluid to add the minute, smaller details. Then once the masking fluid is dried up, I'll add the darker top layer on this. I'll let this layer dry up as well. Once the entire artwork is dried, I'm going to remove this masking fluid using an eraser. Once it's off, you can see the minute details, the smaller white dots that I wanted the leaf to have showing through this is not easy to achieve through the lifting technique. This is when you would probably want to use a masking fluid. Now let's look at the final technique, which is called adding a wash. For this, I'm going to be using an oval wash brush, which is slightly bigger brush. But you can even use a hake brush for this or a big flat brush to add your wash. Adding a wash is basically just adding your background layer. This is very handy for landscape paintings. The wash can be of a single color or of multiple colors. I'm going to add blue, yellow, and slight bit of red for the sky and some green for the ground to create my wash. This would be my first layer, or my background of my landscape. On top of that, you can then add more details and textures. This first layer for landscapes is called a wash. Next we are ready for our class project. 10. Class Project Poppies: For this artwork, I will be using a cold press paper. This is from arches, but you can use any cold press paper. Just make sure it has 300 GSM like we had discussed. Because we are going to do a lot of water treatment to this with a lot of layers in this artwork. Then the brushes I'm using is a rigger brush. This brushes for making those long grass. Then two round brushes, 4.6 this is from my brand oval wash brush. To lay down the first wash, you can even use a big flat brush or a hake brush for that process. Then for the paints, I have three colors which are approximately similar to the ones that we see on the reference photo. We have cadmium deep red by Vincent Newton Cotton series. The indigo, as well as the sap green. Like I mentioned, your color names might be different. Just pick something which works for you, then I have this palette with my paints ready, jar of water and per towel to da all my brushes with the excess water. Let's get started. What I'll do first is approximately draw the flowers that I want to make, especially the ones which are in the foreground. The ones which I want to see clearly, I'm going to start drawing them. I have one here which I want to show. Poppies are actually pretty easy to paint. But it is the process and all the techniques that we have learned through the class that is important. I wanted to choose some subject which is fairly easy to draw. Then there's one poppy here which is turning this way. I'm going to draw that as well, and I'm going to keep it very loose and not too detailed depending upon how this turns out. It's a reference photo, I'm not copying it exactly. This one beautiful poppy here which is flowing in the wind, it has a very dramatic looking poppy here. We'll keep this one as well, then maybe I want to make one poppy here as well like this. This is just rough idea. We can of add more poppies if we want later, but this is just a rough idea of where you want to place your flowers. Once this is done, I'm going to start putting in the wash. Look at the scene clearly and approximately what we want to do is a gradient wash. In this case, the top would be indigo. It'll be a darker wash at the bottom. I'm going to keep it very light indigo. And then later when it's almost semi dry, we're going to drop some red color on that. Let's start with that, your wash brush. Take some indigo. I'm going to first actually wet the paper. We're going to do wet on wet technique that we had learned. I'm going to wet just the top half of the paper first, put a good layer of water. See approximately this darker indigo background is on top till here. Let me just mark it. It's somewhere here. It's not half the screen. That's how you do it. Then I'm going to drop the paint. This is wet on wet. Just wet your paint. Make a little bit of a wet consistency. Drop it at top, which is the darkest stadia. Since the paper is wet, it's going to just pull the paint for the rest of your artwork. I have a poppy here which I didn't want to paint. I'm going to do the lifting technique. Now, for that, I'll take a dry, damp brush dry. I'm just taking a damp brush and I'm picking up the paint from here because I want this poppy area to be white. I wasn't supposed to put it, I'm just correcting a mistake. It's not really a technique, but I'm going to use it then I'm going to continue this gradient wash for the paper till here I want darker wash. Just something to note, and you'll probably learn as you go, that watercolor dries up much lighter actually, than what you see. Whatever you are painting right now, it will turn out to be much lighter than that. But as you practice, you will know how it behaves and you'll get better with how much you want to put in watercolors. It's always a good idea to keep it as light because you can always add layers of paint, but you can't wash out layers. This is like a gradient wash that I've put I want it to be darker here as well. It's quite dark here. I'm going to just drop the paint on my wet paper with the wet on wet technique. Now, at the bottom of the paper here, I'll wet the paper. It's supposed to be greenish. I'm going to just first wet the paper and it's going to be very lightish green, Not too much, but I want that background to be painted before I start adding the details on the foreground. Again, just a wash. A light wash? Try to keep your poppies untouched. I know I'm not doing a great job with that. It is difficult. There's the other option of using a masking fluid to just mask your poppies out when you're putting your background. I don't have a masking fluid liquid, that's why I'm not doing that. But if you have a liquid masking fluid, go ahead and put it on the poppies so that they don't get painted over. The red that I have, the cadmium deep red. It's pretty opaque. I will be able to work with it. But if your red is not, it's not opaque enough, actually, then you might want to mask all poppies out. Okay, the wash is done and the paper is still wet. So what I'm going to do is take my brush and start dropping some tinge of red. Make those blurred flowers in the background. You actually want this blotting effect to happen so that you get that blurred poquet look to it. You need to make sure you do this step when the paper is wet again, we're doing wet on wet technique here. When the paper is wet, I also want to do some grass with my rigger brush. Rigger brush is like thin and long and it's very handy to make foliage. I'm going to just do this while the paper is wet again. I want a bouquet effect. Not too detailed grass at this moment. Try to mix it up with some indigo as well. You don't want just one colored, this thing. Indigo gives a little shadow to this grass as well. It gives some dimension where you see the paint is drying lighter. You just take some paint and start dropping it to give it a little bit more texture and depth. I don't want paint which doesn't have any shape to it. I want some flower shape to come to it. Now that those blobs are drying a little, I'm going to start dropping paint. You need to be constantly here monitoring your paper and see how it's behaving and start adding more and more flowers. Poppies have this black tip. What I'm going to do is just drop very lightly. Very lightly, because my paper is still quite wet in some areas, you don't want it to be spreading everywhere. This will give a little bit more flower like effect to your poppies. Just take it on the tip of your brush and drop it at the base of this flower to give it more flower effect, not just random blobs. Go ahead and add more grass. You can use the round brush itself if you want, or if you have a rig. Even a script liner brush will work really well for foliage. Actually, there are a lot of options. Go try out whatever works for you. I'm just adding the grass while I wait for the rest of the paper to dry. Okay, my paper is completely dry. Now, I will start making the more detailed flowers. Again, I can see that one of the flowers has a little bit orangish tone to it. I'm going to mix yellow to my red and bring that orange color out. This is the flower that I'll paint first. I'm just painting the first layer for this flower, which is an orange tone. You can actually just put yellow if you want. The water colors can be layered or mixed on the paper itself as well. If you put red on top of this, it'll automatically become orangish. I'm just going to put the first layer as a yellow. That's the transparency or water color that you can play with. Then I'm going to put red in some of the areas to give it a orangish tone. This is the wet on dry technique. Then I'm just picking up some paint to give some highlights. Let it dry, then we can add more details. I had drawn one flower here as well. I'll just add that detail again, wet on dry first layer. And then on top of that we add more details again in this case as well, I'll put a yellow color first. And then on top of that I'll lay the red to give it a oranges tinge so it has the sunlight effect, Sun light showing through. Once it dries up. Then you can add one more Led on top of this. Then I'm going to start adding the poppy seeds or the buds. Okay, let's add the poppy seeds or the buds again. Take some indigo mixed with saarine or whatever it is called on your palette. And I'm just adding these little buds something like this. This one has a bud. I'll just add that detail next. I'm just going to start adding more and more details to this to make it feel complete. Like I said, it's a personal preference at what point you feel it's complete because there are so many things that you might like and want to add. For example, I want to add this little turned bud here. There are some stems and which is detailed. So I'm going to start adding those. Make it all yours, make it unique to your own style. And add as much as you want or as little as you want when it comes to details in this last layer. 11. Class Project Lavenders: For this next project, I would encourage you to try painted on your own without any instructions. You can watch my process and pick out the different techniques that you recognize. Try to use those techniques and create this piece on your own happy painting. 12. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on finishing the class. Watercolor painting nurtures creativity and patience. It's a journey where the process is as rewarding as the final result. Remember, there are no mistakes in art. Only opportunities for growth and exploration. If you like the class, do leave a review. And don't forget to post your exercises, as well as class projects in the project gallery until next time, happy painting.