I’ve learned through many years of my own watercolor mistakes and others that when you think your watercolor is broken… that that’s not necessarily true! I taught art at the secondary level for 15 years so through fifteen years of helping students with their “broken paintings”, and of course my own, I’ve learned to fix a lot that has been thought to be “waste basket material.” You know what’s really neat is that that particular painting sometimes becomes even better because of the creative fix.
I’ve always heard that watercolor painting is one of the most difficult types of mediums to paint in because it is unforgiving. I’ve found out though that with a good watercolor paper you can rub and scrub and scrape a lot of those mistakes away. Sometimes you can even run the paper under the water faucet to wash away all your paint, except for of course, the staining colors. I do believe though, that in order to paint a successful, non- frustrating watercolor painting, you must learn about the paint and also you must learn the basic watercolor techniques first. So take a class, watch a video, or read a book, whatever works best for you, to learn some of the basic watercolor techniques such as: graded washes, wet into wet, glazing, lifting and so on. You must most certainly learn to paint in stages, in other words, patience. Here’s an example: You’re gung ho and ready to paint a beautiful landscape so you paint the graded wash for the sky first. You must stop and let the sky completely dry before you paint the hard edged sawtooth mountains jutting up into the sky because if you don’t wait, you’ll end up with the fuzzytoothed mountains blurbing up into the sky. You will be more successful by beginning your painting with your watercolors in light values first and then build the darker values into the painting as you go. You can always get darker later, that’s for sure. Sometimes you can’t get lighter with watercolors unless you add an opaque white, which in my book is still o.k. to do, but you then are not a pure transparent watercolorist, if that is what you were striving to be.
So my point is, there are ways to fix a broken watercolor so don’t give up. Learn the basics first to avoid many beginner problems but then remember…. With a tough watercolor paper, you can wash, scrape, erase, rub and scrub lots of those mistakes away. Don’t give up and don’t believe that watercolor is too difficult, because if I can do it, anyone can! That’s that!
Paint like no one is watching!
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