March 3, 2021 at 10:59 am #459611
Hopefully someone can help, I am new to watercolour and I seem to be using too much water on my brush when I am using colours on my pallet and it makes parts of my paintings have small pools of colour when I am trying to add detail. this maybe a stupid question but are there any tips I can adopt to stop me using too much water.March 3, 2021 at 12:32 pm #459628Sandra StraitParticipant@sandra-strait
My first tip is to change your brush. Different types of bristles take in different amounts of waters. Rule of thumb, real hair takes up more water than synthetic, softer brushes more than stiff. Synthetic or real, squirrel takes up the most water. Kolinsky sable the next, and hog bristles take up almost none. Brushes formulated for oil take up less than those formulated for watercolor and acrylic, those formulated for acrylic less those for watercolor. Some brands, like Princeton, rate their brushes at their site.
I switch my brushes according to whether I want really loose, flowing effect (squirrel, synthetic) or harder, crisp edges (Kolinsky, synthetic).
Use pan paints. They are harder to get really liquid paint and so easier to avoid overloading your brush. I prefer pan paint because they are less messy, and I choose my brush according to how much water it will hold, using it for the effect-loose or crisp, that I want.
If you don’t want to change brushes or use pan paints, then try mixing your paint with water before you start painting, and experiment to get the ratio that flows without overloading your brush. Watercolor really is about the control of water to paint. Sometimes you want pure liquid, other times you want thick cream or somewhere in between.
I hope that helps.March 3, 2021 at 1:11 pm #459634
thank you so much for the advise you have given me. I use Winsor and Newton Cotman brushes and Winsor and Newton Cotman half pan watercolour paints.March 3, 2021 at 2:20 pm #459667Sandra StraitParticipant@sandra-strait
The problem might not be the brush.
I’ve never used the Cotman brushes so I’m not sure where they fall on the spectrum. It might help if you identify what the exact problem is – i.e. is it that the brush goes limp, it releases all the water at once, the paint is uncontrollable flowing everywhere, or the color is too light? Or something else?
If the color is too light it might not be too much water, it could be that the paints are not well pigmented. Cotman is a student brand so that’s possible.
If the brush goes limp – that’s something that softer brushes do. In some techniques, like Chinese brush painting, it is expected and used. The fix there is definitely a different, stiff brush, though not too stiff.
With many brushes, the problem is not that they take up too much water, but that they release it all at once. That isn’t so much a matter of soft or stiff as the shape of the individual bristles. A different brush is called for. A professional brush is less likely to have the problem but may (or may not) cost more.
The paint flowing everywhere can occur from several causes – too much water, uneven release as discussed above, the paper, or the pigment. Some colors, such a Phthalo Blue tend to be explosive and require careful handling. Others, such as Cobalt Blue have less movement and give you more control (but are granulating so you get darker dots of color). It can be the paint itself. The formulation may result in colors that go crazy.March 3, 2021 at 3:05 pm #459724Susan OParticipant@everart
Sandra had lots of great tips, I can only add a few ideas. I have a few Cotman brushes and as synthetics, they don’t hold that much water compared to some other brushes. So having a cloth, sponge or paper towel in or near your palette is important to help control your water by blotting is helpful–some Winsor & Newton palettes have a space for a blotter. Search YouTube for “watercolor water control” or “watercolor water ratio” for tips from some great artists. Steve of Mind of Watercolor has practical tips for water control in almost every video he makes, I’ve learned a lot from him. But there are many other artists who have shared their strategies, too. Practice is always the way to improve 🙂March 3, 2021 at 4:02 pm #459740
Thank you soo much for all this advice, it’s is invaluable. I’m sure it is my technique that is giving me problems, your are all so very helpful in giving me advice to improve my painting.
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