A Helpful Hint: Watercolor

I'm sure everyone reading this remembers being creative with watercolors during their childhood. Who didn't love walking into art class and seeing these set out on the table?

I have been experimenting with watercolors now for a few months and let's just say when I finish, I look like I am back in elementary school! What a mess! I finally have figured out the best way to work with paint tubes, mixing colors and adding the right amount of water. I do not want you to have to go through the mess and headache I did, so I am going to give you a few tips today.

1. Gather Supplies

  • Watercolor (take some time to experiment with a few brands to find the one that works best for your project.)
  • Container for colors (if using watercolor tubes, some come with a palette.)
  • Paint brush (I will share my favorite below! Find what works best for you and your medium.)
  • Paper or canvas (depending on the project you are working on.)
  • Water and water cup
  • Clorox wipes (and lots of them if you are like me!)

2. Mix the colors. This step is very important.

  • Remove the lid of small container.
  • Squeeze a small amount of color from the tube into the storing container.
  • Use the eye dropper to start adding water to the color paste in the container.
  • Continue until you have the color/water mixture to the right consistency. For watercolor, you want it to be transparent and not the solid color.
  • Remember your combination of colors/water amount in case you need to make more to match a project.

3. Start painting.

Just a few tips when painting:

  • Start on a piece of scrap paper (of the same medium) to make sure the color is going to come out the way you planned.
    • In the picture above, I started with a violet watercolor and it was not as dark as I had planned so I let it dry and then brushed a black watercolor over the top.
  • Always practice on something before putting brush to paper on your final project.
  • If you drop spots of water color, immediately start spreading it in the same motion as the other strokes on the page to avoid dark spots.
  • Pour some paint out on an old plate or palette for easy accessibility for your brush. You can always ad water on the plate to make it the right consistency.

The two colors above are what I used on this project for a sweet friend of mine, Ashley Feldhues. She works in the MBA Career center at TCU and wanted some water color/calligraphy pieces she could hang up in her office. (Signs pictured are 12x12 sheets of paper and can be purchased here!!)