Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Painters, Loosen Up!

This could keep you busy for a month of Sundays! I grabbed some random supplies from the studio to play around with today. I have some ideas to give you a bit of practice with color mixing, water ratio, pencils vs paints and more!

Watercolor Techniques in a Nutshell!

1. If you're a bit worried about color, start with working out value, the relative light and dark pattern you need for any sketch or painting. Choose three graphite pencils of varying value. Harder ones are lighter and softer ones are darker. Now one at a time, see if you can make the same light, medium and dark values with each one. Practice crosshatching small 1" square sections on a piece of sketch paper. (Copy paper works, too) You'll have to control the pressure, depending on which pencil you use.

2. Now make similar little squares with your watercolor, mixing Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue to get neutral midtones. You'll have to control the amount of water as well as the balance of warm/cool color to get the results you want.

3. Choose three tubes of watercolor, each color intrinsically light, medium or dark. Practice using the paint almost full strength, choosing a subject suited to these three colors and values. Check your results in black and white or grey scale. The above examples are referenced from a previous challenge and show how loose you can really get!

Tip: Have you been drawing lines around things to make them look more realistic? Unless you want "tighter" paintings that look like coloring book pictures, keep it loose. Squint! Draw general shapes lightly with pencil, then paint with a good pointed brush, using value and color to get the definition you desire. Keep detail to a minimum.

About Sunday Painters posts: Especially during this summer, I have been posting weekly inspirations for those of you who like to play around with art at home. These are not meant to be lesson plans or complete exercises, but just a jump start to get you going. Please let me know if these ideas are giving you a little boost to practice on your own. :)


  1. I love all your posts and yes I enjoy Sunday Painters very much. I appreciate your sharing.

    1. Thank you, Sharon, for your kind words. Thanks, too, for reading. Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone out there who sees my work. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

      Maybe I will keep posting things for loyal Sunday painters! :)