Beginning Watercolor Tutorials

If you read last week's post, you know that my grandma recently passed away and that she had taken up drawing and painting in her retirement years. When the family was all together, my mom gave me and my sister what was left of my Grandma's art supplies. So I acquired a bunch of supplies for painting with watercolors. I must admit that I haven't really painted with watercolors much since using those dry Crayola palettes when I was a kid. I never had much luck painting anything with those watercolors beyond stick figures and shapes, so I knew it would be a challenge. In junior high and high school art class, we learned about painting with acrylics and didn't spend any time at all with watercolors, so I was in uncharted territory.

So what do people do when they want to learn how to do something these days? They look on youtube. So the very first watercolor tutorial that came up when I did my google search was the one below of the "Smoky Mountains." After watching the video, the technique seemed pretty easy, so I thought I'd give it a go.

There were already some 5x7ish pieces of watercolor paper taped to some foam board in Grandma's stash, so I used one that was all set up and the brushes that she had tucked in with her paints.

My first stumbling block was that I didn't have the two shades of blue used in the video. I winged it with the cerulean (a blue/green) and the regular (ultramarine) blue and kept going. The next problem was that the brushes grandma had were terrible. They were clearly cheap ones that came with various kits, but I pushed on and finished the painting.

In the end it was pretty rough, but it looked like mountains with trees, sort of. I enjoyed working with the watercolor paints and marvelled at how differently they mixed and could be blended compared to acrylics. It's also very easy to adjust the intensity of colors with water, both on the palette and on the paper.

So after the difficult, but rewarding experience of my first painting, I dug into my art supplies and brought out my acrylic paint brushes. I wanted to keep playing with mixing colors, so I made a simple landscape with a tree. The better paint brushes made a huge difference in my ability to make more detailed lines. 

I know these are pretty basic, but I'm hooked. I can't wait to paint some more. And I hope these show you that you can try out new arts and crafts and that it doesn't have to be perfect the first time. It's a learning process.


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