Painting with Carol

Techniques, tips and tricks for watercolours and acrylics

Painting at Rosewood in pictures

June 26th, 2008 | Category: On the road, Watercolours, Workshops

Workshops at RosewoodVictoria workshops May June 2008
Victoria workshops 2008Students at Rosewood workshop

I took theseĀ photos during the workshops at Rosewood.Ā I had a wonderful time teaching everybody.Ā I haven’t included names but if you’re in these photos, please add a comment!


Free pattern packet

May 26th, 2008 | Category: Carol's paintings, Pattern packets, Watercolours


It has taken a while, but here is the promised free pattern packet of the gum blossoms watercolour. This is a beginner pattern so it’s a good starting point. There are two parts to the pattern packet:

  • The tracing. Download the file here. It’s currently A4 size, so you will need to enlarge it to A3 and print it out onto tracing paper. If your printer doesn’t do sizes larger than A4, take it to a print and copy centre such as Kinkos - they should be able to enlarge it and print it onto tracing paper.
  • A step-by-step instruction guide.

Both are PDF documents so you will need a reader such as Adobe Reader in order to view them.
Get Adobe Reader


Camels in watercolours

March 26th, 2008 | Category: Carol's paintings, Watercolours

Here’s my latest watercolour of camels. I am working on another at the moment.

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All The Extras

February 26th, 2008 | Category: Art supplies and equipment, Watercolours

If you take up a hobby of any description you will need extra “stuff”. I just love that word “stuff” - I have so much of it much to the disgust of my family. Here’s a quick list of some of the stuff you’ll need for watercolours:

  • Razor blades for scratching highlights which of course we will go in to when we paint together.
  • A fine mist water spray. Chroma has the best one I have found so far. You’ll need it to quickly wet the paper down.
  • Don’t through away your old toothbrush as you can use that for splattering.
  • A synthetic sponge and a natural sea sponge. I often use sponges for different effects.
  • Paper towels and tissues are very much apart of a watercolour artists list of things to have, I couldn’t live without tissues for different effects and blotting up mistakes.
  • A ruling pen. I use this all the time and often I am asked what it is. It can be bought at The Art Scene. My camera has died but I will take a photo of the “Ruling Pen” for all to see when I get it back; I think you will find it self explanatory.
  • An eye dropper for measuring out water when I mix my paints.
  • A soft and hard pencil for quick sketching.
  • Along with a pencil of course goes a pencil sharpener.

I am sure there is so much more. I will enter them in as I think of them.

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Using masking fluid

February 21st, 2008 | Category: Painting techniques, Watercolours

I like to think that everyone can be successful when they start to paint with watercolours, so I introduce art masking fluid with the first painting. There is a school of thought that one should never use masking fluid - that you should be able to introduce light in to a painting with out it.

But you know what? If you are successful with your first painting you are likely to want to continue.

Art masking fluid is a rubber latex solution. It is used to mask out an area you do not wish to paint. For instance, if you would like to paint a rose you would either trace or sketch the rose, then you would carefully block it in with the masking fluid, making sure the paper is covered well. If you can see the paper through the masking fluid, then you will need to add another coat.

Allow it to dry before you apply the required washes over the paper for the background. Masking fluid can be used before any painting has been done - this will ensure that any highlights can be kept white. Masking Fluid is available in a clear or slightly yellow tint and I have even seen it in a blue colour. It can also be introduced at any stage of the painting - providing the surface is thoroughly dry before it is applied.

I like to use the brand Art Spectrum which has a yellow tint to it this makes it easier to see when applying it. Of course, you can buy other good brands of masking fluid at your favourite supplier.


  • Don’t use your good brushes when applying the masking fluid, but use a brush with a good point.
  • Continually condition your brush with liquid detergent before you dip it in the fluid as it is inclined to clog the brush.
  • Leave a small amount of liquid detergent in the brush before applying
  • Wash your brush frequently.

I like to paint over the sketch lines as I find the masking fluid will remove them. It is important that the masking fluid is dry before you remove it - even when it’s dry it will have a wet sticky look so touch it with the tip of your finger to check. Gently rub away the masking fluid with a clean fingertip or an eraser.

Masking fluid can also be used for textured effects and splattering - the list goes on and on there is just so much for you to learn, it is so exciting. I think I will leave that for when we are actually painting a project together.

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Choosing the right watercolour paper

February 13th, 2008 | Category: Watercolours

Watercolour papers are offered in a perplexing variety of sizes, weights, textures and prices. There are a number of good quality brands available. I mostly use Arches, however Whatman, Fabriano, Saunders Waterford and so on are all very good papers. I think you should experiment yourself, as it depends on what you are going to paint. You will find that professional-quality watercolour paper is expensive, but I think it is certainly worth it. Watercolour paper comes in a variety of surfaces so you should choose the right surface.

There are three textures available:

  • rough
  • hot-pressed
  • cold-pressed.

Rough paper has the most ‘tooth’ - ridges on the paper - and if I am painting landscapes, this is the paper I use. For instance, if I am painting water I will use the side of my brush. The paint then adheres to the elevations and will leave sparkles on the surface of the water. However, like everything it takes practice to achieve this effect.

I use hot-pressed paper if I am painting fine detailed work as it has a smooth surface.

Cold-pressed is ideal for beginners as it has enough tooth for repeated washes but it’s texture will still allow you to create sparkle in your painting. I mostly use cold-pressed paper.

Then there’s the weight of the paper. I mostly use 300 gsm; professional watercolour paper can come in different weights, as little as 70 or 90 gsm. I have found, though, that the lighter the paper the more you are likely to have trouble with it warping if you are new to painting. The weight is determined by a ream which is usually 500 sheets. A standard size sheet of paper is 22 x 30 inches.

I could write pages about paper! I haven’t even got into stretching the paper or anything like that. Sometimes the best way to learn is to try it out and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here.

Happy brush strokes!

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