This blog is hosted by Hanne Lore Koehler, artist, author, illustrator. I will try to post a new article every day, including new work, painting tips, art news. Hope you will join me and leave a comment!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Watercolor Lesson


Visit my website for price, size and style details of the original painting of this aerial skier and order prints online 

I recently received this charming email from a highschool student:

Hello, Mrs. Koehler!

I just found your gallery and am totally blown away!! How you do what you do with all the detail in your paintings, and in watercolor, is amaaaaazing!!! Just wondering, do you use reference photos most of the time? Or is it all out of your head? And how do you get such detail with watercolor? What size brushes do you use?

Sorry for all the questions, but I am enchanted with your work! I hope to be as good as you someday! Would you take a look at my page? Please? Thank you!!
Keep up the stunning work!

Here is my response to Emily. Perhaps it will peek your interest to try watercolor, too.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Emily. I was happy to visit your site and find such lovely work - very mature for a fifteen-year-old. You are very talented and it appears you are beginning to develop your own style in your preference to draw portraits.

As for watercolor - give it a try! This medium cries out for experimentation. Start out by brushing a layer of plain water onto a piece of watercolor paper - let it soak in but not dry. Add a wet layer of Prussian Blue on top. (Artist color in a tube works better than student color - less grainy). Wait patiently while the shine disappears from this layer. Before it dries, add a little sprinkle of salt. Now, the hard part is to wait until completely dry without touching your work. Just watch the magic that happens! Voila!! ... snow  ...stars  ...frost ...whatever your imagination says it is!

I use a combination of reference photos, painting from memory, and experimentation with the medium to create a painting. I use brushes of all sizes, from a 2" house painting brush to the smallest artist brush for fine detail. The more detailed the subject, the less water gets mixed with your paint.

That should get you started - if not hooked - on watercolor! When it comes to watercolor, experimentation is the best teacher. No one can tell you what to do better than if you try different things yourself. No pressure, no one to impress, no exams! If it doesn't work, try again with different timing, less water, more water, more color. Have fun with it!!!

 Hope you will have fun, too!!!