Watercolour tutorial Introduction

This year I have been asked to facilitate watercolour tutorials for several groups, so it seemed an appropriate time for me to start a new “watercolour tutorial” section on my site. Over the next few weeks I’ll be trying to post a complete guide. If you have any questions please ask them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them.

Watercolour (watercolor if you are an American) painting is usually considered to be a difficult medium to master but in this tutorial I hope to show you that it can be done competently without too much stress. Having said this there is no doubt that the more time you spend working on developing your own personal style and techniques the better you will get. A great golfer is quoted as saying “the more I practice the luckier I get”, but in art I would say that the more you practice the better your work will get.

If you enjoy painting and drawing you will tend to do it often and you will get better. If at first you are not very happy with the work you are producing remember that it is reckoned that it takes 10 000 hours to master any skill.

Ramsay Harbour Isle of man. Drawn on a cold morning, sitting on the quay.
Ramsay Harbour Isle of man. Drawn on a cold morning, sitting on the quay.

If you wish to produce good representational work you will need to be able to get fairly accurate pencil outlines onto your paper as a guide for your painting. While this means that, ideally, you should have good drawing shills, I have artist friends who produce exciting work by tracing lines onto their paper and it is known that many great artists, of the past, have used devices (like projectors or camera obscura) to transfer images from life or photos onto their paper.
I have no argument with this, as I believe it is the final painting we are judged on, but I enjoy drawing and spend lots of time sketching and seem to paint better when I am drawing often.

“the first rule is that there are no rules”

If your enthusiasm is for abstract work it may not be as important to draw well but it seems that most of the great abstract painters started their working lives producing very good representational paintings and drawings.

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