What I learned
What a difference thirty days makes. I began this challenge of painting a watercolor a day for thirty days thinking that watercolor is a fast and spontaneous medium and that I would paint a quick watercolor each morning before I began my regular studio work. I did not realize how consuming learning the medium would become and much of my free time was spent studying all things watercolor. I also did not think I would come to love it as much as I did.
Here is a synopsis of what I learned
Paper makes a HUGE difference in what you are painting. Each surface has its challenges and benefits that suit different approaches. Play with it and make lots of mistakes to see what works best for you.
Water is pigment
When you mix up a puddle for a wash, mix up a large puddle. I mean really, really large. I cut the tops off of solo cups and used them to hold washes.
When you are working in a direct method, lay down the pigment then leave it alone. No poking drying paintings.
Moleskin Art Journals are great for quick sketches; they do not like heavy washes.
Moleskin Art Journals and small half pan sets are the ultimate light weight plein air set up.
Stretching paper is not too scary and a staple gun and gator board work very well.
Color mixing in watercolor is pretty much the same as mixing color in oil and in pastel.
It was nice to return to line drawing.
Working wet into wet takes trust but creates magic.
You can begin a large painting with a very light underpainting that will give you an idea of your values and temperatures. This is the same as underpainting in the other mediums.
Texture is an important part of watercolor. Lean how to manipulate different brushes a lot of different ways.
Fixing problems is not too difficult in watercolor but it has its limits.
It is best to wait until an area dries completely before you make changes.
Cobalt teal is the prettiest paint color out there.
When you want to control your edges use two brushes, one to lay down the paint and one that is damp with clean water to manipulate the edge. Keep the brushes in both hands at all times.
Use less water with each layer
The true colors and edges only show themselves once a painting is completely dry. Reserve your final judgment of the painting until then.
When I began this challenge I felt intimidated by the medium and after a month of painting I feel as if I have just begun to grasp the basics. I am not intimidated anymore but completely enamored of the challenge and beauty of this medium. I will continue to work on watercolor and will post paintings in the future. Keep the comments and tips coming, and thank you for following along on this adventure.
I want to send out a huge thank you to all of you who followed along, commented, messaged and sent me tips. I am listing some of the resources you suggested below, they were very useful on this journey. Another special thank you to those who purchased paintings, that means a lot and I am using the proceeds to buy more watercolor supplies!
James Guerney Blog: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/ Amazing blog on all mediums but some real gems on watercolor.
Mario Robinson Video: http://www.craftsy.com/instructors/mario-robinson I highly recommend this video plus you can ask him questions!
Youtube: type in watercolor and see what comes up!