Cindy Briggs

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Simple Watercolor Painting Tips

When it comes to watercolor painting, sometimes your blank paper can be intimidating. So just think of your painting as a study and you can more easily relax into the process.

The drawing is often the foundation of a watercolor painting. Here are some watercolor painting tips I teach my students —to draw with continuous lines; this drawing process is more organic and helps you really see your subject and discover how everything is connected. It often amazes my students how much easier this is when you use a fine point permanent marker and just go for it. While I use the pen often in my smaller Quick Sketch paintings, I use the pencil in most of my larger studio and fine art paintings.

With time you’ll learn to relax, let go and trust your drawing. Another watercolor painting tip when painting is to keep it simple – limit your palette of watercolors and you’ll discover how to do more with less by mixing the colors you want.  A warm and cool red, yellow and blue is all you really need.

See my sample from painting on Main Street in Park City last week using a Daniel Smith Half Pan Sketcher Set — Six half pans in Cerulean Blue Chromium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Quinacridone Rose, Transparent Red Oxide, Ultramarine Blue, it also includes nine empty half pans. I used just the one Pentel Aquash Water Brush for the entire painting.

While I prefer the life experience of painting en plain air like I did with the Park City Main Street Scene, I use photographs for reference for my studio paintings. Often I’ll combine images and use my imagination to create my compositions of scenes from around the corner to around the world.

It’s all up to you on how you intend to capture your subject. The most important thing is to just go for it, relax and enjoy painting your own point-of-view.

Simple Watercolor Painting Tips