Watercolour Painting Tips
Everyone loves tips.
It's not really surprising because watercolour painting tips are shortcuts, ways round difficulties, ways of doing less and achieving more; or finding magic solutions to the many problems posed by watercolour painting.
I love them just as much but I am also against them. This is because if you focus on tips, you are missing the point.
You can learn lots of techniques. I have taught many people who have done just that and I have found it impossible to teach them anything. The problem is, if you get too much into techniques, you stop being able to look and to see.
Looking and seeing is the most important part of painting.
It isn't nearly as simple as it sounds.
You can look at something for years but you won't see everything that there is to be seen in it.
It's not just that eyesight has to be good, and physiology rested and relaxed, it's that there has to be a certain amount of humility as well.
It works like this . . .
One day you notice a cloud.
Sitting over a painting the next day you decide to put that cloud in the background of a painting.
You remember that the cloud was grey and white, so you mix up some grey and dab it on. It looks dreadful, all lumpy and rock like.
You know that it is not the cloud that you saw.
You know this because at some place inside your brain you have an image of what the cloud was actually like, but you can't reach it.
You know that the painting is wrong but you can't put it right.
You thought you knew, but you didn't.
The sort of memory you need to cultivate comes with observation and lots and lots of practice.
Keeping a watercolour sketchbook is one of the best things you can do and it should be used regularly.
Draw from life all the time.
This is the first and best tip.
Yes I do have one or two practical tips for you. The most useful is about the masking fluid, which comes later in the F.A.Q. on painting white.
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