To begin painting in watercolour, you need 3 simple objects;
· Some good beginners' materials
· A subject to paint
· A basic method
A beginners paint tray of water colours could consist of the subsequent colours:
· Lemon Yellow Hue
· Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
· Cadmium Red Hue
· Permanent Rose
· Alizarin Crimson Hue
· Intense Blue
· Viridian Hue
· Raw Umber
· Yellow Ochre
· Burnt Sienna
· Chinese White
· 4 main brushes
· Pencil & Rubber
· Board or Hard Surface
· Roll of Masking tape
· Water pot or container
· Flat Plastic Palette/Tray
· Reasonable size board for your Birthday cards
What to paint - Finding a subject:
Many artists find it difficult to be influenced by the ordinary everyday things. However, real artists can turn the very ordinary thing into something special by purely viewing it creatively. It may be a landscaping, a structure, an inside scene such as a dining room, or still life like vases or crockery. If you feel really confident you might want to attempt a portrait (of the person you're giving the birthday card to), botanical colouring or maybe even an abstract. Your painting does not have to be precise or absolute, remember art is in the sense of the artist not the critic.
Painting a Watercolour Landscape:
Landscapes are possibly the best for beginners and the following basic technique should be applied. Four general principles are valid while colouring a landscape.
Your View - As an artist you're looking to produce a visual illustration of your chosen scene, it is not a clone but an illusion of what you're painting. Remember, it is how you see it and paint it that makes it a unique work of art for your birthday cards and even canvas.
Aerial Perspective - Take time to look at the landscape you would like to paint and you will notice 4 elements emerge. Initially the objects further away will appear smaller. Second, the distant items will not be as detailed. Third, colours become less vivid the further away they are. Fourthly, as objects diminish their tones become paler and less contrasted.
Composition - Use your pencil to create an outline of the landscape. Be sure to set out a horizon, middle and foreground within your landscape. In general, this follows as the horizon being the background of the painting with the horizon line being about two thirds from the top of the page. Most beginners start drawing the horizon half way up the page - although our eye-line only sees 30-40% of the "surface matter" in any given scene and the rest is sky.
After you have drawn the basic out-line of your scene, the colour is now ready to be applied into your picture.
Choosing a paint tray of colours:
The popular practice is to retain a broad paint tray of around twelve colours and add to it for specific necessities. For example, you will notice that a lot of birthday cards are aspired to be bright in colour and therefore you may wish to include some brighter contrasts to your work.
When you have obtained the initial palette, the subsequent thing is to find a suitable board.
Watercolour board is mould made board and is often acid free giving it an extensive life without wear and tear. The board is pre-sized making it possible for the artist to sponge and rub-out (if necessary) without damaging the board.
Squeeze a pea-sized amount from your water-colour tubes or dab a damp brush into your watercolour pan - best to start with 3 primary colours - a red, blue and yellow.
Use a round brush and start placing some blue on the sky, before dabbing the colour with a wet handkerchief to produce cloud shapes by opening out the colour.
After that, work onto the distant horizon line making use of subdued colours (i.e. thinned blues, grey and yellow diluted with water) then onto the onto the mid-ground area adopting more blues and green prior to moving onto the forefront using yellowy-greens and stronger, more vibrant colours - not thinned with a lot of water. Note: Should you be colouring a medium sized birthday card, you may want to downgrade the range of the out-line before beginning to paint.
After you have developed those colours you are able to then build up a sequence of layers to fit your needs. If you are very adventurous, you might wish to try the wet-into-wet technique. This is where the colours combine whilst they are still wet. It produces pleasing, delicate tones for your birthday cards and is brilliant for glum, atmospheric paintings in order to lighten up the cards for the person owning the birthday.
An added method, is generating a water-colour wash, which offers many special effects like, graduation, granulation and flecked. Avoiding being too technical, a wash is in fact where a colour alters as a consequence of the water content mixed with the pure colour. Such effect is formed by beginning at the top of a dry piece of paper. Paint a band of darkened colour (ultramarine blue), before adding more water to the brush and create a second band under the first. This should be continued until you have a graded wash i.e. the colour goes from dark to pale and occasionally clear. When colouring birthday cards, you don't need to worry over adding the words 'happy birthday', because the greeting may be placed inside the greeting card with the front showing your creative abilities.
Some Finishing Suggestions:
DON'T - fiddle around with the painting; once the birthday card is complete, do not add more touches thinking you will improve it.
DON'T - Let your palette become too wet.
The colour should be allowed to dry in between stages of application except for when you are employing the wet-into-wet method. Maybe use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
Continually refer to the object you are painting and to your work of art.
Start painting from the top of the board.
Always cleanse your equipment with cleaning soap and water.
Paint loosely; do not get drawn into precision. Bear in mind that it's a painting and not a photocopy.
Author and marketer for http://www.cardly.co.uk/ A company offering striking water-colour birthday cards