The watercolor painting style is often associated with canvas and paper, but beautiful works of art can be created on a variety of surfaces as well. The robustness, ease of use, and distinct style of watercolor paints make them suitable for use on glass, parchment, fabrics, and even wood surfaces.
Paper. If you are a watercolor artist then you almost definitely use watercolor paper for your work. Watercolor paper has been around for centuries and there are variations of watercolor paper available that suit any style or technique you could think of.
The best watercolour paints
- M.Graham Artists' Watercolours. ...
- Sennelier French Artists' Watercolour Half Pans. ...
- Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours. ...
- Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour Tubes. ...
- Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolours. ...
- Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolour Half Pans. ...
- Daler Rowney Aquafine Watercolour Tubes.
Both are great mediums, but acrylic paints are easier to use, and any mistakes can be easily fixed. Watercolors can be difficult to learn and any mistakes you make are extremely difficult or impossible to fix. So, when it comes to watercolor vs. acrylic for beginners, acrylics might be the better option.
However, painting with watercolors can be difficult. It is a hard medium to master, largely because it can be unforgiving and unpredictable. Mistakes are difficult to correct, and its fluid nature makes it hard to control.
Either is perfectly fine to use on wood. As mentioned above, wood is porous, so applying watercolor directly to the wood will allow the grain and texture to show through, especially if the wood isn't a smooth surface.
For the high absorbency needed to accept watercolors, apply 5-6 coats of Golden Absorbent Ground, allowing each coat to fully dry before adding another. After the ground has fully dried (give it at least 24 hours), you can now paint with watercolors on your canvas.
Watercolor paintings are not very suited to most common papers. The paper used for printing watercolor is too thin. If you apply water to it, it will become translucent. Because it does not have any sizing, it will absorb water too quickly and buckle if it is not properly fitted.
The color pigments in watercolors are extremely sensitive and will quickly fade when exposed to the ultra-violet rays in sunlight. You will also be dismayed to see the paper drying out, turning brittle, bleaching out and taking on an ugly yellow hue.
Acrylic paint is pretty easy to work with, making it a great option for beginners. We use acrylic paint because it dries very quickly. For at-home painting, watercolor paint is also a beginner-friendly paint that is convenient and easy to clean up.
You can use these two paint “cousins” together since they are both water-based. It is best to paint acrylic over watercolor paint since after mixing watercolor with acrylic paint, they become thicker and waterproof, so your watercolor paint will not stick to the surface.
Acrylics can be painted on it, and it is a great surface. Acrylics do not need to beprimed if you are using watercolor paper. You should use a heavier watercolor paper if you want it to not buckle.
If the watercolor is on paper spraying two even coats of the aerosol Archival Varnish (Gloss) is usually enough to seal and adhere the pigments to the paper. If the watercolor painting is on Absorbent Ground, then three even coats of Archival Varnish (Gloss) are generally required to prevent bleeding or streaking.
I buy custom floater frames that will fit the panel profile plus the thickness of the watercolour paper and still have at least 1/8" of the frame protruding beyond the front surface of the artwork. This will protect the vulnerable edges of the painting.
An alternative to watercolor blocks, watercolor boards offer rigid surface on which to execute warp-free paintings. Useful for working en plein air, or anywhere without a convenient easel, desk, or table, watercolor boards provide their own support.
Should you sketch before watercolor painting? The answer is yes. Sketching not only gives you a sketch to guide you, but it also helps with design and flow of the work as well as giving structure. It can be used to help with composition by creating focal points or value changes that direct the eye through the painting.
For those who do not practice painting, hyper-realism and photo-realism are often considered the most difficult due to the wow factor. Personally, I am not a huge fan of spending hundreds of tedious hours trying to get the perfect color and perspective in a painting.
Putting it all together. If you're buying your first paintbrushes for watercolors, I'd recommend three round brushes: small (around size 3), medium (5-6), and large (12). Because of their versatility, they'll be all you need in the beginning.
When choosing a subject to paint, the majority of artists turn to the classic themes: still life, landscape, interiors, wildlife, portraits, and figure painting. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment: choose a subject and a medium that you feel comfortable with, one that you feel you can handle.