The flowing colors ~ the unpredictable pigment ~ the spectrum of saturation — watercolors are both beautiful and intimidating. But if you are a watercolor newby, don't let it scare you away. This summer you can explore the wonderful world of colors through water color!
Here are a dozen tips to keep in mind:
1. Don't overdo it when shopping for paints. Stock your collection with a few basics. The type of paint you choose is totally up to you, but be sure that you have red, yellow, blue and black paint.
2. When it comes to brushes, get good ones!
You don't need a lot of brushes — just a few good ones. A single round brush is a must, but you'll get farther with a starter set of brushes including small, medium and large round brushes, a medium flat brush and a mop brush.
3. Use real-deal watercolor paper
When it comes to watercolor, paper is not just paper. If you try to paint on regular old printer paper or craft paper your colors won't stick and the paper will warp. Watercolor paper absorbs the moisture of watercolors, leaving you with bright pigment. You can start with a simple water color book or get some paper designed for what you are doing. You wouldn't eat peas with a knife, right?
4. Use a palette
A palette will be your playground for mixing colors and exploring your water coloring world. A watercolor palette with little wells for mixing different colors is great. You can also use a flat, non-porous surface like an old plate. Get something bigger than what you think you'll need so your beautifully mixed colors don't bleed into one another.
5. Clean water and scrap paper are KEY tools!
Clean water and scrap paper are the unsung heroes of watercolor painting. A container of clean water will help you thin paint colors and wash the brush when switching colors. Be sure to change the water out frequently so it doesn't get muddied with all your colors. Scrap paper let's you test out colors and consistency before putting them on your real paper. A small piece of watercolor paper is ideal, but you can use any paper. Just remember it won't dry the same as it will on your finished surface.
6. Prepare your space
Keep your work surface, brushes, paint, palette, water for mixing, a paper towel for drying brushes and a piece of scrap paper all ready to go within easy reach. However, nothing should be in the way of your dominant hand. You don't want to knock anything over as you work.
7. Start with a sketch
Before starting your project, work out your composition as a sketch.The sketch can be on a separate piece of paper to use as a guide, or you can draw a light pencil sketch on your paper.
8. Mix more paint than you think you need!
You don't want to get down to that last petal of a beautiful flower and realize you're out of the color you need! It's difficult to re-mix a watercolor color with accuracy, so just play it safe by making sure you have a sufficient amount.
9. Embrace the bleed
It's the nature of watercolor paint to bleed if applied too close to another color that is still wet. This can be frustrating, but it can also be an opportunity to create beautiful visual effects such as gradients. If you don't want colors to bleed into each other, let each color dry completely before applying the next.
10. Let masking fluid make life easier! (I'll bet some of us didn't even know this was a thing!)
Watercolors are notoriously hard to control and they tend to make their way to parts of your painting where they're not welcome. The best defense is masking fluid, which blocks out any areas you don't want painted. Let the masking fluid dry, apply the paint and let it dry, then rub off the masking fluid to reveal totally clean paper
11. Don't let mistakes get to you!
So you painted the wrong color, or the paint bled in a way you didn't like, or you accidentally painted a blotch on the page. No big deal! Things like that can either be fixed or incorporated into the painting. Embrace the experience.
12. Most of all, Have fun! CREATE and CAPTURE Memories squared!
First create and capture a memory or 'picture' of something that makes you happy, and secondly, create and capture the memory of the experience. If you approach watercolor painting with a sense of fun and adventure, it will be a journey filled with FUN and ENJOYMENT instead of fear and disappointment. Experiment. Enjoy. Learn from your mistakes. It's all about the adventure!
For this adventure pull out a simple set of water colors and some pictures and let your little one enjoy the wonder of color and mixing and blending and bleeding colors together ~ all of those amazing things that happen when little hands pick up a paint brush and water colors!
SUPERAchievers are going to want to take this project one step further and create a painting that is truly rewarding to them by painting something that will be meaningful for someone else. Whether it's a painting of the home you're growing up in for your parents, or painting a bouquet of flowers for a shut-in neighbor, or painting a fun memory with your family, choose something that will truly CAPTURE the moment, and pass it along with love and care!
For this Adventure our teens will want to follow the instructions in the Basic Adventure and create something fun and colorful that represents them.
Take a selfie with your water color creation and post it to your social media sites with the hashtags #WaterColors and #MyDiscoveryDestination