Saturday, August 12, 2006

Basic Equipment for Watercolor Painting

The artist who is determined to conquer the art of painting in watercolor needs some basic equipment before starting. Materials will vary in cost due to their quality. The most expensive tools are the best quality of course, but you need not always work with the most expensive. For instance you will need a large wash brush for those first colors and it doesn’t matter much if it’s a cheap one. That will do the job just as well as its more expensive counterpart.

Where quality begins to count is for the finer work. You will find that in sablette (artificial) brushes the fine tip needed for detail will not last as long as the more expensive sable brushes. However, if you are just starting out in your watercolor career, you must choose between very expensive natural hair brushes and the little cheaper artificial ones. Middle of the range pricing will probably give you enough quality. In brushes you will need the large wash brush already mentioned, several medium and small brushes such as no. 8, 6 and 2 and another slightly stiffer, cheaper one with which to do your erasing.

Then you will need 5 ply plate finish Bristol board on which to create that masterpiece. Ask for it by name and make sure it is plate finish; otherwise it will all peel off the minute you try to erase. Other benefits are that it will not buckle, the paint will not leak and good erasure is almost guaranteed. While expensive, it is certainly worth the cost to obtain such benefits. You could use paper especially made for watercolor and it might be a good idea to try out various types just for the experience, but once you get serious, stick to the Bristol board.

Next you will need paints and the choice here is either cakes or tubes. Preference differs between experts. If you decide on cakes, Yarka sells a good basic set with 24 colors in it plus a mixing tray that is useful. The paints last for years, but when they get used up, you can replace individual cakes without having to buy another whole set. Price it at different stores, as the price varies dramatically. Whatever you do skip over the children’s sets, no matter how good they might seem.

The only other thing you’ll need is a mixing tray – that is, if you don’t buy the set with one already in it. Your palette should be designed to contain puddles of water. It needs to be a bright white to let you easily see what your color mixes look like. And it needs to have some flat or shallow dish-shaped areas for mixing colors. The Skip Laurence palette sold by Cheap Joe’s for about $17 is a good basic one.

Once you have invested in these basic supplies you’ll be ready to start painting that work of art you’ve been dreaming about. Good luck!

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Watercolor Painting

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