Colleen M.

read books, adventure often



Watercolor Essentials


The materials I used:

  • Blick Studio watercolor pad, 140lb
  • Camellia student watercolor pan
  • Simply Simmons #10 round brush (to paint)
  • Utrecht sablette #8 round (to lift)
  • Ultra fine point sharpie (not pictured)
  • (I didn't have tape, so I tried my best to stay in the lines)



I liked using the #10 round brush for both projects. A smaller brush would have made getting into little corners easier, but overall I felt it was fine. I used the #8 as a thirsty brush just because it was the first brush I grabbed when I need to lift. It worked out well.

The paints, however, are an inexpensive student set and the colors are a bit chalky. I've learned more about paints since I purchased the set, and know now that with student sets like this one the paints can be chalky and the pigments not finely ground. You can see the chalkiness a bit in the photo. I didn't mind though. Since I'm just starting out, I think working with these materials will make me appreciate higher quality paints when I start to use them.

I've learned more about paper as well since purchasing the pad pictured. I haven't yet painted on 100% cotton paper, but I've used a few different student-quality papers and like the smoothness of this Blick Studio pad.

My first project:


I didn't have a fancy drawing pen to sketch with, so I used a fine point sharpie. I liked the look of the variable line widths though, so I tried to recreate that look by making some lines thicker than others.

Since the colors of my student set were not labeled, I did not know which blue was closest to Thalo Blue. I took a guess, and I think my choice was too dark.

I found making the tree shadows difficult to do. I will continue to work on them.

My second project:


In hindsight, I would liked to have taken a process shot of this project. I really liked the look of my painting even after the first video for this project and would like to have seen the difference between that point and the final, pictured above.

I'm really happy with the final result, though I know I need to work on leaving more whitespace. I'm also very impressed that we only used three colors.

What I learned from this class:

I really appreciate the techniques Ron taught in this class. The timing, explanations, and videos of the process were all very helpful.

A few times, I would paint a section next to a still-wet section and because my sketch lines are quite thin in some places, I would get too close to the wet section and my paint would bleed into it. Each time I would say "Oh no!" and frown, but I would quickly take the thirsty brush, tilt my paper, and remove the mistake. It worked out great.

I think these projects are excellent exercises to do whenever I have new materials to try out. They really got me familiar with my paper, paints, and even brushes. I also have a small pan set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors. They are still student-quality, but I think they are better and creamier than the Camellia set I used; I will redo both of these projects using the Winsor & Newton paints in the near future.

Thanks, Ron!


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