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Need Help with Technique!

2521 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  tricky raven
Hello all,
I am new to watercolor and needing a bit of help on how to work it. I have always loved watercolor, especially combined with ink. I'm having a hard time getting the look that most good watercolor paintings have, that free flowing, running on the page look. Experienced painters always say, "just do what feels RIGHT." But that never works, you have to know the rules in order to break them. SO.
My biggest question is this:"How do you get that "watery" look, yet keep the color you're using very dark. For instance, if I wanted to paint something pure black on my watercolor, but still want the stroke to look watery, how do I do so without diluting the color? I can't seem to find a happy medium. I'll either put too much water and then it turns more gray than black, or not enough in order to keep the color true and the stroke won't look as "flowing" as I would like it to.

I've posted a few links to what I'm talking about. It's not just black I have trouble with, but any color that I need to appear dark. How do I do THIS:


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One of the things that I learned from a recent lesson is how to get good dark colors. I don't have the flowing look that you're after, since that's something that I intend to work on some more too.

The trick was to mix the paint to the consistency of gravy in the paint box, to make sure that you have enough, then it flows on pretty well and maintains its darkness.

What I was trying to do is to get some dark-looking leaves for a flower painting. The leaves were first underpainted with various lighter colors, then when dry, the thick dark color was put over top of it, then using the pointed end of the brush, veins were added to the leaves using the pointed brush end to remove paint and make the color underneath show through.

We also broke another "rule" by doing the dark leaves first, then the much lighter flower petals. I liked that technique so much that the first painting I did back at home used the same technique and I quite liked the result.

I happen to like high contrast watercolor paintings rather than the ones that use all light pastel colors.

One of these days I'll photograph what I've been doing lately and share with this group.
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