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Lesson 2 from: Watercolor 101

Molly Murrah

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Lesson Info

2. Q&A

Next Lesson: Basic Introduction

Lesson Info


We're gonna have a nice q and a d and I do have some questions that I kind of was gathering along the way so they kind of go back all throughout um the first question that someone had asked is uh how much how many grams of paper um grams of paper um for painting went on wet how many grams of paper does the paper need to be? Oh, the paper went well I paint that see we don't use grams here I think it's three hundred something grand for one hundred and forty pound I would not go with anything less than one hundred forty pound paper my favorite papers, arches and arches hundred forty pound cold press is such an incredibly durable paper that it's too slow you can do just about anything on it and if you're going to paint wedding to wait what I would not go down to the ninety pound paper that's really thin and it really will buckle you need a little bit of that extra weight to paint paint went into it so I wouldn't I don't think I would go below the hundred forty pound so the grams is probabl...

y people from europe but yeah, the gram gram is is a european equivalent, but daniel smith we'll list that they they say hundred forty pound and then in perimeter they list the gram weight gsm it's called they list that after the the pound weight so whatever, wherever they buy from will heaven it should have an equivalent I would imagine europe they would list the grams and then the pounds, and here they would list the pounds and then the grams, but you should be able to find that out easily. Another paper question that came up was will three hundred gram paper warp? Well, if the three hundred is one hundred and forty, it will buckle if you paint really wet in tow wet, which is one of the reasons I suggest stretching your paper. So do your drawing wet it completely get it soaked, make sure they're no bubbles and then stretch it by putting the industrial staples all the way around the entire edge about every couple of inches you need to put staples all ray around your paper and if you do that, then when it dries and it shrinks, it'll be taught because the staples hold it out to the size that it was when it was wet and so it doesn't shrink down. If you let it dry and shrink down, it will buckle. Yeah, now if you don't want to you lose the deck alleged ted not all loves that deck a legend he never ever loses it ah, he works on three hundred pound paper, which is like stiff as a board paper there's also another escapes me right there there's another way of fasting it down there's somebody created a way of holding down the wet very wet paper so they preserve the edges without the staple remarks yes I have to well there is artist tape which also artist tape which works very well artist tape is thick white tape about this big and it has a gum backing so what you do is you put your soaking wet paper down on your board and we're going to go through this supplies in just a minute actually I probably should have gone through the supplies before we even do so we'll do that the next step will be going through the supplies but I'll answer this for now uh put your paper down and then use your gummed artist tape and while your paper is still wet you put the artist taped down and then when that all dries the edge is completely sealed off and then actually is quite a nice thing to do because it keeps your edge real clean and and when you just staple you know your paint runs off the edges and your edges a mess but you know you get to the place where he eventually that doesn't bother you so much and because you're going to cover it up with matt anyway but if you want the deck old edge europe but like ted, not all wood put his three hundred pound paper on his board and he would use pushpins and just put a little corner edge of the pushpin over the edge of the deck old age, so that he didn't even have a pinhole through the paper. And then he mounts it just the way you painted it. That's. How he would do it, there's so many different ways to do this. And you can find that you can just search, you know, watercolor paper and mounting your paper and tearing your watercolor paper. You can search all of that online and find different ways to do it. Okay, let's, go here's the supplies. Yeah. Biddies. Everybody's excited to go through the supplies. Okay, so this is the kid that was prepared for everybody in the class. Now, this is the piece of gator board. Theo gator board is a size that will cleanly hold with a nedum round it a piece of your watercolor paper. So I'm going to take out a piece of paper and you can see how the gate aboard is just bigger than the paper. So if you were going to wet your paper, you would soak this. Some people soak it in a bathtub, make sure it's a clean bathroom. You don't want oils and grease to get on your paper that's not a good thing uh the top of my palate is actually big enough to hold a piece of watercolor paper this size, so I've often soaked paper in the top of my palate and I'm sure it was created exactly to do that so I've soaked it in my palate mostly what I do is I just take a big fat brush and I run it over the paper this way soak it turn it over so kit I do this about three times on each side and then when I lay it down on the gate aboard it literally sticks to the gate aboard. Now it was the paper will have stretched by then already and so if it's not wet enough you might even get a bubble in the middle so or say you have a bubble right in the middle so you lift up the wet paper you use a spray bottle or you use your brush and you put some more water down on the board and then you lay it down and when the paper lays and flies absolutely flat on the gate aboard without any bubbles underneath, then your papers went now it'll stay on the gate aboard a long time when it's that wet without lifting up, but eventually it will start to dry and it drives along the edges and once and then we'll start to lift up and buckle from the edge from the edges inward. So I just go ahead and staple it down right at the beginning, find a staple it down, and then then it's done its painted. And, uh, when we get to the paper and brushes section, I'll bring in aboard that I've prepared a piece of paper that I've stretched and put on a board knife staples so people can see exactly how many staples to put in that kind of thing, and I actually actually show a slide that shows okay. Here's, a painting that's stapled and stretched and here's a painting that wasn't, and you can see the difference in what happened to them. Okay, so that's the board, this is the paper now. Daniel smith was kind enough because I almost I hurt my hands last time doing this for the class. They were kind enough to cut thes into quarter sheet. Uh, pieces of paper for us. And this is all the arches one hundred forty pound cold press paper. Cold press has a bit of ah textured surface to it. Hot press is very smooth paper hot press takes brush brush marks very differently cold press takes it differently from the hot press, so ah this is the paper and it would just works great it's really just the best paper after I think I think it's probably the number one paper yeah, absolutely all over the world I think it's the number one paper hot press smoother yes, you're finishing up the ripples really are not yeah, they're very nice and if you like certain effects in your watercolors like I do like if you like the granule ation of some of the paints you need this sort of wales in the paper so that the granules in the paint can seep down into the wells and separate from each other it's like you know it's like pores on your skin yeah and I was going to say never mind what I was going to say yes you can yes you can ted not all often did that although he mainly painted wet on dry he just used to brush he used what they called the number sixteen kolinsky sable that holds so much water I'll show you the brush that he uses it's it's a pretty amazing rush just just the one brush and it's this one I have one this is one hundred and twenty dollars brush even even for fine uh huh and the reason being issue can it comes to a really nice point see the point on that so and it meant but he doesn't he doesn't paint calligraphy and his paintings. He's, the one who does the sloppy dots and, you know, but he just wanted to brush that held an amazing amount of water so he would start out with a brush that was just soaking like this. And he would get, you know, he would end up being able to cover a sheet part of the paper this big with one load of brush, he would get that much paint on it, so but you can paint wedded toe wet on hot press. You can't. You can paint any way you want to. It just depends on the look that you're looking for and knowing practicing will say okay, I like that that's what I want my painting still look like, and then you know what you did now, the other thing daniel smith supplied to us, which was great, everybody in the class got this and they add, actually have a what they call a sample paper pack it's a whole bunch of paper samples, and, um, they cut it down for you and on top. It is a list of all the papers that they put in the paper sample pack and then but they had changed the pack from the first time. That I did it um they u po is not in the paper sample pack anymore and I wanted people to have a sample of you post so um I put some of my I had some you post so I put some of my own you po in your stack and I added it down at the bottom of your list in order to know ok people in the class you need to hear this in order to know what piece of paper you're going to be working on take your list and number your pieces of paper before next week I'm sorry they taking everything at one time cause it makes bags are kind of like yeah no I understand sorry about that I understand I totally understand it is like christmas christmas in july so yeah don't forget to do that don't forget to take your sample papers number them you know unobtrusively someplace where you can see the numbers and then when I say okay let's let's do a sample on the number ten you can go find your number ten really easily and not have to sit here and count through your papers and all that kind of stuff okay so that's the paper oh I should have taken all of my supplies out to should names are on here by the way three hundred grams is one hundred forty pounds yeah let me take all my paint supplies out also because I'm I'm gonna be making noise as well I don't have any so each one of these papers is in order of the numbers that are listed exactly in order the numbers list stan and I clipped him together with with little paper clips seventeen is on top and that's the u po when I put it on top because it's a much smaller sheet okay yeah you can you can tell you just feel it you can you feel like your beer it's plastic you can tell now one thing I will tell you about you po and I probably just did it to the piece I stuck my greasy little fingers on um it will it will hold your fingerprints more than any other paper out there just about because it's like you know it's plastic it's like you're really putting your fingerprint on something so if you get fingerprints on I believe you can take a cotton ball with alcohol and you can rub it off but be very careful make sure your hands are nice and clean when you handle your you poe paper it's fun to paint on it really is I I don't have any paintings that I've done I've just only experimented in it I just can't get away from the arches there's something about you I just want to eat that are just paper it's so delicious to me you know I love the way it feels I love the way it smells oh, I just love everything about it so you know, I just I never I never stray but it's one of those things that I mentioned I think earlier in the banter that somewhere along the line I might want to paint in another medium because you know you get your creative juices flowing and you just keep on wanting to try new things I'll probably branch out into the u po and the not too distant future just to try something that now the other thing that they included which I think is just great this will help some of you do you're playing air painting where these little travel books by put out by arches and it's the arches paper in a little travel book that you can just paint on when you're out if you're on a picnic and you want to paint, you know iraq and some flowing water and stuff like that these little travel books are just great and it's good quality paper it's the arches paper that I love so much now here's your a palate and I went ahead and filled mine uh this is the palate and right here I have the cool colors, the cool blues and right here I have the warm uh primary sorry these are the cool primaries and these are the warm primaries and down here the opaque primaries and you can see how my little thumb just fits into the holder there and hear your little wells where you go in and you get your colors and you try to mix them up here and there on the wells and that's all way and see these little holes here you can stick your brushes and now they obviously don't think you're going to use very big brushes but you can hold up a stick a brush and hold it in the hole there and so these are great these are not very expensive it all and you want to try to make sure that the paint is somewhat dry in here because if it isn't and you turn this over a lot of the paint from here will end up over here and paint is very expensive you know it's it lasts a long time I mean a good tuba watercolor paint will last a long time it's certainly worth it but you know you don't want to you don't want to waste your paint you want to save your paint as much as possible now here are the brushes these are fantastic this is your one inch flat and that's a good sized brush you khun see how on a quarter sheet you can cover pretty good distance and pretty good area with this one inch flat uh this is ah I believe this is synthetic to you I think it's a synthetic brush it's a synthetic school yeah yeah uh it's a great brush and it holds a decent amount of paint in general synthetic brushes don't hold as much pain as natural bristle brushes this is one of the reason uh ted not all uses a kolinsky sable this is a true sable brush it's you know one hundred percent sable there's nothing synthetic and all, innit? In general I find synthetic brushes are a little bit stiffer and don't hold quite as much paint another another brush that I use constantly because I do a lot of glazing is a brush called let's see if I have it here yes I do this is a very old brushes you can see because all of the paint has you know dropped off of it but it's a two inch sable and this is such a soft brush that you can use this brush to glaze over just about anything without disturbing the paint underneath and that's this is very very nice brush to have eventually if you start glazing and doing that kind of thing you're going to want a brush like this the synthetic brushes if they're a little bit stiffer than you have to press harder on the paper and when you press harder on the paper you can disturb the pain underneath so this is your number nine this is a great size brush I don't know I this isn't all purpose brush it comes to an amazing point on the end, you can see how the hairs there are, you know, but whittled down so that you can get all the way from a very, very fine line all the way to up, depending on the pressure. Too much thicker line. So that's your number nine uh number twelve, this is your number eight brush. This would be for your smaller details yet and, like I say, usually is a beginning painter. You're too intimidated to paint full sheet watercolors, so you stick with the smaller sizes and this brush will help you start with the smaller sizes. Now, I will, I'll tell you, and I hope to remain. I hope to remember to say this again in the paper and brushes segment paint with the largest brush you have that will work in the area that you're painting, you know you can always paint with a small brush in a big area, you can always paint with a big brush in a small area, but you should always paint with the largest brush you can use in a small area that that helps with so many things it helps get your paint down quickly. It helps you be able to go back in and drop in color before it dries. It helps you stay more simple and less detailed it allows you to look att ah, bigger area and pay attention to a bigger area as opposed to a smaller area. It it just helps in so many ways. So try to keep that as a rule of thumb in the back of your head as well. You don't get lost in detail when he lost the details tent. Exactly. Straight it very easily. Exactly. Better to work larger. Too small. Exactly. Exactly. Um, this is our rigor brush. This has the let me take this off so you can see and I'll show you how this brush it's really good to be used it's it's for small details and what you do is you hold the rigor brush up at the tip. You don't hold it. You know what I'm gonna do? I have a little piece of paper clean paper here on the side. You don't hold it down here. You hold it up here. If you're going to use it like a true rigor and you put it down on the paper and you flip and you can get very distinctive kala graphic marks. Is that shone? Can you see that? Okay. It's great for going in after you've dropped in sort of some broad washes of green or blue for a tree and you want to go in and add a few branches here there and you want some sticks to stick out and stuff like that? It is great for that kind of thing. Grasses on a beach see that so that's your rigor brush and that's the kind of, uh, uh, line and stroke that it'll put down for you and then this is the scrubber brush. Now there are lots of different sizes of scrubber brush. I actually used a much smaller scraper brush a lot too, but this is the size I use pretty much the most and it's a it's not hair bristles it's bristle bristles it's very stiff on the end and it allows you to go in and scrub paint out and I'll show you an example but that might look like me see if I've got something. Yeah, this was a test I was doing one day I didn't like it, so I stopped. That happens a lot so you can use a scraper brush but you went in first. Yes, you have to wait it first because what you have to do is you have to loosen the paint underneath so you work from a dry painting with the wet describe exactly and the painting has to be dry otherwise you can really more the paper and this is a pretty staining color and it's been on for a long time so I can't get back pure white but you can see and I scrub out a lot ah lot because there times when you just can't control the paint or you've put the paint in too soon and it leads over the edge of something or you want it just a very soft highlight like scrubbing out the light highlight on the side of an apple you know he's with the idea of doing a painting in like three hours oh no you can do every week you can no you can't do it you absolutely could do it but between way of drying heart yeah the drive the drawing part of japan's under depends on what you want to do it really does depend on when something really you could actually do a really nice painting on a small scale you know yeah just under half a hour oh, good. Now let me let me tell you that that teacher that I told you about dan lemley the one who's such a master of color what she actually lived where six blocks away from me I could not believe that how fortuitous that was but I saw her at an east side association of fine arts demonstration and she had a tiny little black and white value drawing that she did, she was the one who stood on the corner and painted an old victorian house. Accredited drew an old victorian house across the street. She didn't have a she doesn't like to use photographs. She paints from her little sketches because she just kind of makes the rest of it up. But then she came in to this demonstration, and I was sitting in the audience, probably as far away, maybe thirty feet. I was sitting from her, and she had one of those mirrors over her looking down, and I watched her paint a painting. This was a half sheet watercolor in an hour and a half, ninety minutes from start to finish that was, I couldn't even shut my mouth. I was I was so blown away, and from where I was sitting thirty feet away, it looked like a photograph because of the light that she was able to capture in that painting, the light and shadow, and she had even had a person walking a dog, and that person walking the dog looked like he was in the photograph. It was just unbelievable. Then, when I went up to the front of the room and looked at the painting up close, there was not one realistic stroke in the entire painting, it was just it was just unbelievable I'd never seen anything like it and I felt like I was looking at just like a you know, an abstract mosaic with just big swabs and dabs of color and everything dan evidently a n n e lemley l e m a l e y check out her website and she's actually better known as an oil painter than she is as a watercolorist but she does both magnificently so you here when she was amazing? Just amazing. Can I ask you a question? Do you mix the paints on the paper as your painting it or do you have a scrap paper that you mixed? I do both I do everything okay I mix on the palate I don't mix on the palate I mix on the paper I always have a little piece of scrap paper to make sure that the color that I'm that I want to put down next if it's really really crucial and I really care that it be just the right color I'll always have a little piece of scrap paper you could get really cheap like watercolor paper there's something called biggie paper that daniel smith uh cells I don't know if they sell it anymore you can just you can use anything you could turn over an old painting you don't like and use the back you know alright way it's just yeah there's no right way get that surprises me is that you do everything with just primary colors but you're really mexican everything I mean, I I figured we'd have like twenty six like the crayon box this is this is water color one o one michelle I thought that's how you did it will believe me this is my palate so this is not your palate? Yeah okay. Okay, eventually you do get there eventually. Ugo yeah, and and one of the one of the samples that was put in the exercise files last time was a photograph of a veiled woman and this and the biggest frustration for everybody was that they didn't have our palate are simple little palate here didn't have the colors they needed to match her veil. Exactly. Okay, so when I did the exercises, the exercise files for the class this time the the photograph that I use for that exercise is black and white, so I don't want you to get stuck on the colors make him up it's it's really hard to when you're starting off to choose colors. So I think really hard limit it is much easier because then you know, the idea is that you get a new what you're mixing and mixing and then you can choose from a limited vocabulary really making it work because otherwise it would be very overwhelming well crowned box is overwhelming now in in next week in week two we're going to be doing what I call my mouse ears you know and what I do is I take you take two little circles and you put a one circle underneath and you put you wet them completely with water and you create a channel between the upper two circles so that it drips down into the lower circle and you put eliza in eliza in crimson and won and oriole in in the other and then you bring him down in the channel and you let him go down and drip down and see how they mix without you mixing them and you see the color mixes and the colors that they can create all their own and now we'll do that in the exercise class and those air also in the exercise files that people can down download those exercise files are provided every week whether you buy the course or no not okay and you have those exercise files in your, uh packet there so you know it's just it's the way to learn you just keep practicing. No, I'm not disappointed. I just it was yeah, what someone did molly we have about, uh nine nine minutes or so left uh how would you like to spend the rest of the class do you wanna go? Well, yeah, let me just quickly go through the supplies I would suggest getting a value scale this is a ten value scale. You can mark off the five values if you want to stick with your five values. Here is some artist tape that is on sale. I would suggest getting a rubber cement pick up because in our last week when we use masking fluid, the rubber sent men pick up is what you used to pull the masking fluid off of the paper. Here is a daniel smith masking fluid jar and this is really great because they provide you with different nibs and these nibs some of them are small. Some of our larger these names allow you to put the, uh, masking fluid down in nice, even lines and things like that although I had one size gotcha. Gotcha. Okay, you cut them to take right? You cut them down deeper to get a wider opening and cut them up at the top shallow where to get a narrow opening. So this is a great tool. This is the watercolor, uh, bucket that they supply to the students in the class. And I wanted this because it when you open it up and you fill it up with water it actually has pockets on the side so you can stand your brushes up in it and that's that's a very handy little tool. It really is a handy little tool and then a needed a racer which is really important. You need to use that you can't use one of those. You know what? Orange pink, pink, pink school races you that they will mar the paper. They will lift the paper. You need to use one of these or one of those sort of plastic kind that's it that's it? Yeah, yeah, the ones that you can see through, you can use those. They won't hurt the paper and then just a little paper. A pencil sharpener for your pencil. And here is a pencil. So that is our kid it's a great kid. And it definitely is christmas in july, and I just wanted to go through all the supplies. Thank you. Daniel smith. Yes. Thankyou. Daniel smith. Okay. Are there any more questions out there? Yeah. There have been some questions that have come up that I wasn't able to ask, um, simple, too difficult questions. First one being the water in the spray bottle should be tapper distilled or does it matter? Okay, my, I've never paid one bit of attention to that. I just used it out of the tap, okay? And then if you could explain values, I know that's kind of well, let's, look at this value scale forward here, this is the lightest light and this is the darkest dark this is what you would call a value scale and this is what you could do what you can take a photograph that's in color and bring it into an image editing program photoshopped elements is a is a less robust version of photoshopped that works great uh there there were several other options out there photo shop and you can take that color image and turn it into a black and white and when you do that you will see the values in the image so it's it's it's the range of values between your lightest lights and your darkest darks and in my opinion a really good painting unless you're someone like ted knothole who who is very what he calls he calls himself a high key painter he said I hardly ever have a value in my painting that's less and seventy percent so if that's the kind of paintings that you like to paint then you'll be a high key painter and you won't have those really dark values but in my opinion of you good strong dramatic painting has some of the whitest white and some of the darted in darkest dark and the values in between that's values to that yeah do it it's very somewhere to photography yes yes it is um and then a lot of people had questions about mixing blacks um how do you mix black? Well, you probably if you want you need really good dark colors and to get a deep rich black you need to have atleast one good halo on your on your palette I would say at least a low blue but I used a low green the halo sion ein colors are deep dark stayner's and you need at least one good deep dark stainer on your palate but you can mix a black and I never used black paint unless I'm playing just doing just a black value study I always make my darkest darks and might blackest blacks with compliments and at least one of the colors is a deep dark stainer you can use ultra marine you can use burnt sienna ultra marine and the lizard and crimson will take you to a very deep color and then if you put uh they lo green in there so that your add a little bit of the yellow into the mix it'll take it out of the purple range and put it more into the dark, smoky, dusty black range that's the way to do it okay and as far as mixing colors any beginner tips for mixing pinks, mixing paints to get the right colors well when we do next week when we dio colors, paints and colors, we'll do a color wheel and you'll take your three primaries and you put him in the three key spots on your color wheel and then in order to get the secondary colors in between, uh, you will mix fifty percent of red with fifty percent of yellow and you'll get your mid tone orange and fifty percent of red with fifty percent of blue to get your mid tone purple, which because we're doing the warm set will be more have a little brown and because of the yellow in the colors so that's, how you just go for percentages if you know that you're putting in this much of the yellow and you want something to be more of a yellow green than a blue green, then you put in less blue than you would if you wanted to be more of a blue green and practice makes perfect in this that's why I say, take your colors and do your little color chips and label him and markham and teach yourself, teach yourself that way, okay? And they'll get more experience with that next backless yeah, another question that came out was, how do you make shadows? I don't know if we have time for that today. Well, all I will tell you about shadows and we covered that uh in, you know, next class is also all I will tell you about shadows is that never just paint a flat grey shadow always put some color from the object that's casting the shadow into the shadow. It ties him in. It makes them relate to each other. Uh, if you've got a warm light shining on an object that objects cast, shadow is going to be more cool in comparison to the warm light. If you have a very cool light coming in, then that shadow is gonna have some more warmth in it. So we'll talk about that in one of the succeeding classes.

Class Materials

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Ratings and Reviews


I would also recommend this class with some hesitation. This course is a broad and sweeping overview of watercolor painting. It is a good reference course and I will probably be treated like a reference book for watercolors. The skills we covered were valuable. It was beneficial to hear about the watercolor artists that Molly enjoyed and to have a list. The exercises were appropriate. I would recommend this course to someone who likes to know all the details of things before getting started. If you are someone that wants to jump right in this may be frustrating. Obviously, I am the latter. A few suggestions from my perspective....limit the product pushing. The references to Daniel Smith were off putting. I will try to avoid purchasing their products at all costs even if they are the best. It was very difficult to get access to the paint colors that she wanted us to have as some of the names are slightly different than what is available to me locally. I have already taken a beginner color watercolor course which I loved!! If I had not taken that course I probably would have been lost here. In that course(also online) we finished a project for every 10 minute lesson. I learned the basic technique's and it was FUN! I wish this class had more projects to practice that can be completed by a beginner and intermediate. Portraits seem like a large undertaking and it would be helpful to build confidence with smaller and simpler projects. I just felt a little discouraged. Molly is very talented and the work she shared was very thoughtful and showed incredible skill! I am very thankful that she took the time to teach the class and share her knowledge.

a Creativelive Student

This course was fabulous. Molly is a great artist/teacher. Her instruction has really unleashed my creativity and given me confidence to create.


Looks like a really fun class! I'll take it soon!

Student Work