It’s being a wile since we don’t do a process blog or a live demo, decided to do this one because is important specially dealing with reds in watercolors, good for someone new to the medium and serves as a reminder.
But first, what does a brand new clean sheet of watercolor paper means? It means planning, plotting and more planning, specially now that materials are so costly, can’t Imagine starting in watercolors and having to ruin a sheet every single time this is of course, if you are using professional materials. If you like, a good resistant watercolor paper that can withstand the horrors, puddles, picking up and scrubs of a “master in progress” good watercolor papers will be 140lb Fabriano Artistico, Arches, and Canson Montvall. If you think got a long way with watercolors, Strathmore will do the job, lately Strathmore has come out with beautiful sheets of good professional quality watercolor paper, mainly comes in a pack that you can also use for practice, if you prefer.
Does materials matter? Yes and No, you probably where expecting a better answer, but the matter of fact is that, I’ve found that when using student grade materials often had to use more quantity of paint as well as the brushes, kinda left me hanging, not to mention the paper was done over by the third “puddle”, but they are necessary, specially for practice. Notice also I’ve mention “puddle” this is frankly what comes out when we first start with the medium. This means patience is key and practice.
Now, What advantages do you get when using professional materials? Durability and better pigmentation, good quality watercolors paint survive a long time and the brushes as well, this means that perhaps you might need a little more change for your materials. But it will be worth it! Does professional materials helps the artwork look or come out as in better? That is a tricky question because there’s so many paintings in my experience, that have being done with professional materials yet there’s no remedy. So again this has to do with your own hands on training not necessarily the materials… in other words, will be just a good quality puddle. By the way you should keep those, with in time you can see your own progress.
When mixing watercolor red paints, does it matter? yes it does, Good watercolorists must be acquaintance with the type of paints we are using, for example is it transparent, staining or non staining? for us to get to know the properties even if is in the label, is good to do a paper test prior to use, majority of watercolor companies have theirs already for your viewing, yet, you should always do your own test with the type of paper your using.
Red on Reds on Reds. This means that the painting was layered from start to finish with different red colors, first transparent, then adding the staining little by little, letting it dry in intervals but not completely. As the example, you can see how red was used and where medium or dark where need it, a mixture of blue and red was added, to give strength to the next layer, also note where darkest shadows where need it, a staining color was added, this helps with time.
Can you achieve the same by a direct approach? The purpose of layers in my case is for the colors to overlap, this makes it as unique, also helps with transparency in some of the colors and light, you must remember that an important aspect of watercolor painting is light.
Hope, we can continue exploring the world of watercolors and other mediums together, this is the technical part of the red drape. Yet for me the must important is for you to learn, to be and have patience with your self, to continue progressing and painting.