For the Beginning Painter: Choosing Watercolors as Your Medium

For the Beginning Painter: Choosing Watercolors as Your Medium

So you’ve decided to try your hand at painting. Many beginning painters sign up for art classes at their local community college. There is also excellent instruction to be found online. As a beginner, you will need to select what kind of paint you will use. The most commonly used paints are acrylics, oils, watercolors and pastels. Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages, and each requires certain tools. Some of the tools you can expect to acquire are: paints, brushes, painting knives, palettes, canvasses, rags, turpentine, mineral spirits, etc. Many beginning artists find it helpful to purchase a painting kit that includes all of the basic tools in one collection.

Watercolors are the least expensive paint medium to work with. All you need to get started is a basic set of colors, a few different-sized brushes, paper and a board/easel. A great watercolor paint kit can be found here: watercolor paint kit.

Watercolors can be mixed and cleaned with water. Watercolors come in tubes or in pan form. If paint squeezed from a tube has dried it can still be used by simply adding more water. Paint can also be lifted off a work in progress by rewetting and blotting.

One of the disadvantages of watercolors is that they are transparent. Beginning painters sometimes become frustrated because it is difficult to fix or hide mistakes. White paint is not an option in watercolor. Whatever needs to be white in your painting comes from the paper; a well-planned painting is imperative. Colors often dry lighter than when applied so be patient. Experience, trial and error will help you in knowing what colors are “just right” for your artwork.

As you choose and work with different paint mediums be sure to give it enough time and analyze your likes and dislikes correctly. Make sure your frustrations are with the medium itself and not because your painting doesn’t turn out as visualized. The gap between what a painter sees in his head and what comes out on paper narrows with practice, time and experience.

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