Friday, March 28, 2014

Playing With Brushstrokes

How are you feeling today, painter? Nervous or bored?

It's like we're either uncomfortably pushing our craft into uncharted territory or we're in a painting rut, repeating what we like (or what people like). You may also have the added challenge of working on pieces for others where you're given the subject matter. How do you keep from getting bored?

Today I'm chatting about keeping it interesting when you feel you're in a rut. There could be lots of answers to that question. Here's how I'm changing it up lately: brushstrokes

Wet to Dry to Dry to Wet

The ratio of water to paint isn't the only component to consider when painting in watercolor, but also the order of water and paint. Here's what to expect when you change up the order of your brushstrokes:

For more control: water, paint, paper (wet on dry)
It's what I tell my son. It's the traditional way of painting watercolor. Wet your brush, wet the color of your choice, apply to paper. You'll get a fairly consistent stroke and only need to worry about whether you should have added more paint or water to mix to get the result you had in mind. 

See sample on left. It's a pretty straight-forward process: pick your color, and paint!

For more fun: water, paper, paint (wet on wet)

My fave. Though the scariest. The color bleeds into the water map already set out for it. Where it goes and how it dries can't be entirely predicted. 

For an added twist, add different colors into the same little pond. Beware: you may end up with a muddy puddle if the colors mix too well. 

Still bored? Try these tips:

Just add salt to your wet painting. The salt will repel the paint and make this lovely crystalizing effect. The stronger the salt, the more striking the texture. 

Got white out? Doodle your heart out! I have come to enjoy and appreciate what design motifs and doodles add to a piece. White-out pens are the wonderful little tools. 

Want controlled drips? Your household straw will do the trick. It's super fun. Blow your wet watercolor in the direction you'd like that "drip" effect to go. It's fun for kids… and grown ups too.

It's like a game of rock, papers, scissors. So mix it up! Whatever you need to do to just

Keep painting,