Painting with Carol

Techniques, tips and tricks for watercolours and acrylics

Watercolour paints

March 11th, 2008 | Category: Art supplies and equipment, Watercolours, colour

There is an incredible range of watercolours out there, which can be quite daunting to a beginner. When I first started I wasn’t sure what colours I should buy first or what brand of paint to buy. It is very easy and very expensive to buy 25-35 colours but I personally think it is simpler to work with a limited palette of about 12-15 colours.

You must be able to mix your own colours to become a good painter. You will find it fun - this way you will also discover hundreds of hues. I think one of the most important things to remember is:

only buy artist quality paint.

I am going to give you some of the colours that I mostly use in my paintings and that you will also need if we are going to paint together. You will find that once you get started you will want to learn more and more about colour; I still go to other artists’ workshops to learn new techniques. You will find every artist has different colours that they love and use. I encourage everyone to do the same.

The colours I use most are: 

  • BLUES: French Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue
  • GREENS: Sap Green Permanent, Olive Green Permanent, Australian Leaf Green Dark
  • YELLOWS: Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Aureolin, Yellow Ochre
  • REDS: Pilbara Red, Spectrum Crimson, Rose Madder, Cadmium Red
  • EARTH TONES: Warm Sepia, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Grey.

As far as the BRAND of paint to buy: I use Art Spectrum. Of course, there are many other wonderful brands of paint but as I live in Australia I like to think I am doing my bit towards our economy, be it ever so small. I also like the the vibrancy of the Art Spectrum colours which suits my style of painting.

I think we are almost ready to start a painting together.

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Paints and colour

February 27th, 2008 | Category: Painting techniques, Watercolours, colour

This is a big subject to tackle. I could write pages and pages about it. But if you are anything like me, you can only take in a little information at a time. If I am faced with pages of information I don’t read it properly. I wonder if this means I only use the artistic side of my brain?

Anyway I have decided that I will write a little at a time as required for the projects we do together. There is a basic vocabulary used when talking about colour and when I first started to paint, I found it difficult to know one from the other. Every colour has three characteristics:

  • Hue
  • Value
  • Intensity

If you attend a class or a workshop you will hear your teacher speak of “hue” - this simply means it is the name of the colour. It allows us to distinguish one colour from another.

“Value” is the most important of the three. It simply means the lightness or darkness of a colour - however, if the value of the colour is wrong then the colour is wrong.

“Intensity” just means the brightness of the colour as it comes freshly from the tube; mix any other colour with it and you change it’s intensity. Brilliant Red has a high intensity value, for example, but if you were to add a touch of green to the red it would make it less intense. You can lighten the hue of watercolours by just adding water. I have tried to simplify it as much as I can but if at any stage you are unable to understand what I write, please don’t hesitate in asking me. If you’re wondering about something, it’s a safe bet others are too - and it will also be a help to me.

Colour may seem to be a difficult subject but I have found the more you paint and mix your own colours the more fun it can be. You will find the best thing about painting is playing and learning about it. I have reached the stage now after so many years of painting where I can look across a field and I feel confident enough to know I can mix any colour to suit the colours in the grasses, trees, or anything else needed for a painting. Of course, that only comes with experience and practice. I will go more in to colour as it is required.