Getting to know my watercolors

Getting to know my watercolors - student project

 

Wow, this was a great exploratory journey. Starting with my paper tests, I took advantage of this class to use a couple of paper test packs, plus the paper I usually use. I had so many realizations!, here it comes:

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 1 - student project

 

Lots of papers, my desk was full. You can see Stillman & Birn, Stonehenge, CCHobby and Bockingford paper samples here. All kinds of textures, thickness and colors! (I am in loooove with the ivory and brown paper) I used 4 different brushes for the plant drawing and here is where I got many AHA! moments:

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 2 - student project

 

Light green: #2 W&N mop brush

Dark green: Pentel waterbrush

Soil: #5 ProArte Prolene round brush

Ant: #5/0 ProArte miniature painting brush

Seems like everything can be smoothly painted here, no much difference but the magical moment came when I tried a textured heavier paper:

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 3 - student project

 

It was amazing how much paint the paper sucked right away! The soil is the most obvious one, the ant was hard to paint and there wasn't any paint left in my brush to finish the legs. The green looks fairly good, and that made me wonder why. This is when it hit me like a lightbulb the importance of what brush you use! If I don't want a textured style for the soil, instead of changing the paper I could change the brush for one that holds more water. It felt like playing with camera settings, compensate smaller ISO with more exposure time. :) That is why only the miniature and synthetic Prolene brush ran out of paint. Mop brushes are well known for holding lots of water and my waterbrush also makes things super wet (usually too much when using lightweight paper).

So there you have it, know I feel I know better the relationships between brushes and paper.

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 4 - student project

 

I love doing miniature watercolors, so my ant helped me see which paper would hold details and overall work better for that size. Alright, next comes:

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 5 - student project

 

I prefer my planned succulent, although I can see how the improvised can work for a more abstract / symbolic design, but yeah, I panic when I need to improvise. From my soft and bold exercise, I was SO sure I would dislike the soft one because I felt that usually my work look wishy washy and needs more boldness... but nope, I liked it. I realized what makes it wishy washy is that I overwork it and looses contrast, not the same thing. Actually when I made the bold version I had to stop my hand from painting because I didn't like the flower and kept blending all the red. It is probably clear how the soft one was made with confident strokes while the red one looks hesitant and overworked. The tiny middle one was an experiment of "soft and bold" combined. It looks nice tho it wasn't what I was expecting. Lastly, monochromatic/colorful, I like both, monochromatic feels safer while colorful can make or break the harmony or mood with an incorrect combination of colors.

Getting to know my watercolors - image 6 - student project

 

What can I say?.. Ugh. I usually avoid florals, my leaves are always in the most awkward positions. Other than that, I luv wet on wet. Soft color transitions can be so satisfying!

Getting to know my watercolors - image 7 - student project

 

I'm a bit proud of these ones, florals are a bit daunting to me so yay! half of them I took inspiration from references (none is perfect copy) and half I just improvised! yay!

 

Getting to know my watercolors - image 8 - student project

 

It helped A LOT to draw them separately first and then arrange them. My favorite part was doing the tiny details. I feel I learned a lot about my tools, techniques and areas I need to improve the most.  Thank you Dylan!

Alicia Miss Honeybug
I love Books, Handicrafts and Nature