The Magic & Myths of Watercolour Painting


Internationally acclaimed artist and creator of ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour‘, Bridget Woods, shares with us her enthusiasm for watercolour, dispels some myths related with this medium and delivers some useful assistance for portray on the go.

My enthusiasm for watercolour began with Ralph Thompson painting on the tv. A hand and brush would surface and with a several tranquil strokes, magically depict a wild animal.  Mesmerised by the electrical power of a single damp brush mark to express so a lot, I was, aged 8, pushed to preserve my pocket funds and purchase a bamboo-dealt with brush and practical ebook on Chinese brush portray. 

My factors for picking out watercolour

Objectively and basically, watercolour is rapidly to use in altering weather conditions situations and to capture motion e.g. clouds, individuals, animals, h2o.  The paint (only 3 colours are definitely needed), the palette, brushes, paper and drinking water are compact and mild to have. No mess. No fumes. Minor cleaning up. 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Subjectively, I feel watercolour is an truthful medium – every layer of paint has a semi-clear excellent that reveals past marks.  It is a time witness – its lucidity presents a idea of recording time.  It permits the speed to express a emotion, imagined, structure, notion, environment, aspiration, invented story prior to it slips away.  For me watercolour can convey not just the hard details but the understated nuances that contact the coronary heart. 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Right after 63 a long time, I however have the wish to further more check out the likely of watercolour. I appreciate watching paints working with each other in drinking water and get pleasure from the visceral encounter of using my fingers and nails specifically into wet paint.

It is fun actively playing with h2o – observing the h2o do what YOU want it to even though it is doing what IT needs to do.

There are various myths about portray watercolour

“It’s really difficult” although the temperature, environmental disorders and the painter’s mood can unpredictably affect the consequence, working with earth – pigment, water – motor vehicle, air – drying, hearth – evaporation, fuses the artist with the basic components of our existence. So, if the organic conduct of h2o is highly regarded and observed, it does not only do what you want, but will inevitably express people factors. ie the atmospheric disorders of climate and your mood!

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

“It’s wishy washy and significantly less potent than other media” – expression is the decision of the artist!

“It’s an straightforward medium to learn” – any individual can do it, but only the strong-minded triumph with this worthwhile pursuit!  If, like King Canute, you have an expectation of total manage, water will persuade, even oblige, you to respectfully walk alongside…

“It’s tricky simply because you can’t paint white over the top of paint” – you never even have to paint the white locations simply because the white paper has currently produced them! I have produced techniques to paint around ‘white, vivid and pale’ topics that can describe good element and are pleasurable to use. For the impression, below left, ‘Sparkling Nile’, I wet the paper, leaving only the sun, making and h2o-sparkle shapes dry. Then, doing work soaked into soaked, the painting was done in a couple minutes.

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

“It’s challenging due to the fact the drinking water operates out of my control” – use this high quality for swiftly masking huge regions with distinct colours or  tones of paint and to discover to are living in the minute and have enjoyable!

“It’s far too weighty or major to carry” – a Winsor and Newton Industry box, 3 x principal colours, 2 x  loaded aqua brush brushes and a smaller watercolour book or postcards in a sealable plastic bag is light-weight. Utilizing a handmade zigzag of Arches paper this package only weighs only 6ozs/175g and can suit in a jacket pocket or dangle on a belt or coat button when I’m going for walks.

“My portray will fade, as opposed to oil paint” – artist quality watercolour paints are built with a wide range of the natural way occurring or artificial secure pigments. Artists in all media can quickly decide on a palette of particularly lightfast colors which will not fade in excess of time. 

My necessary materials for plein air

I under no circumstances resist shopping for exciting distinctive and new colors but, outdoor, I have the the very least (dimension and fat) to reach the most. My kit is made up of

  • 6 x artist’s good quality watercolour paint colors: two blues, two yellows and two reds.
    • either Ultramarine (PB29), Cobalt Blue Deep (PB73) or Cobalt Blue (PB28)
    • both Winsor Blue (eco-friendly shade) (PB15), Phthalo Blue (PB15) or Powerful Blue (PB15)
    • both Transparent Yellow (PY150), New Gamboge (PY153) or Winsor Yellow (PY154)
    • Winsor Lemon (PY175)
    • both Scarlet Lake (PR188) or Winsor Purple (PR254)
    • Long-lasting Rose (PV19)
  • Watercolour Paper 
  • Watercolour Paintbox
  • Tender, organic hair brushes 
  • Lightweight board  
  • Two clips
  • Waterpot
  • H2o
  • Kitchen area roll
  • Transformed picnic rucksack
  • Metallic easel
Bridget Woods Plein Air Paintng with Watercolour Box

There are two standard strategies of paint application

To stay away from the distraction of color, I have made use of monochromatic illustrations.

Damp on Dry layered washes.

JS Cotman was an exponent of this strategy which is particularly correct for controlled and in depth painting e.g. properties, townscapes, botanical subjects, necessitating smoother paper for cleaner-edged marks. ‘Sultry Day’ under remaining, has experienced 4 programs (totally dried in between every single) of the identical wash mixture to steadily intensify the tone.

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Textural mixtures of soaked, damp and dry brush and paper. 

Traditionally, JMW Turner was a great exponent of this expressive and a lot quicker technique. Employed, when pushed by a unexpected drive to document situations on his travels or, like the Impressionists, a special minute of climate, light and time. Utilizing a rough, cotton rag paper extends the array of texture. The picture on the correct over, ‘Snow in Graffham’ was painted very first applying moist on wet, then dry on moist for the sky, snow and distant trees. I included sharp damp on dry and speckled dry on dry trees to complete once the underpainting was dry.

The Rewards of ‘Playing attention’

Watercolour teaches me that – though I simply cannot grasp it – I can, by looking at how water normally behaves, perform with it as my respected friend. Experimental participate in is the only route to skill. For that reason, the open-minded artist develops a perception of acceptance and childlike pleasure. 

Dynamically describing sights, feelings and emotions with the perception that inner and outer observation nourishes, delivers a feeling of being in the instant – a portion of the universe.


Watercolour is not only a medium of self-expression but, in my belief, THE medium of Self-Expression 

Expressive Watercolour Paintings by Bridget Woods

Bridget Woods, an internationally acclaimed artist, is known for her approachable teaching design. Having taught herself both equally oil and watercolour painting, she selected to specialise in clear watercolour which, jointly with her enthusiasm for lifetime drawing, inspired her to compose ‘Life drawing – a journey to Self-expression’ and ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour’ (The Crowood Press) believing that persons produce mainly to express their have person ‘voice’. Watercolour is now her teacher!

Purchase her new ebook ‘Painting Expressive Watercolour by Bridget Woods‘ on our site.

Painting Expressive Watercolour by Bridget Woods OUT NOW 192 pages of inspiring expressive watercolour paintings.


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