Learning watercolour.. didn’t go well

Up until now I’ve used watercolour more as a coloring medium for drawings than as a painting style.

I’ve never tried letting the paint float around a bit on the paper, or even worked on wet paper.

I’ve seen a lot of wonderful watercolour artists, though, and I thought that now was the time for me to start using the paint as well.

So, for my first go at trying to paint with watercolour I drew up a quick sketch of a beach. This way I would have big surfaces to work on with both the sky and the ocean.

It looked like this:


So I set to work, blending out the paint with lots of water, thinking about the importance of going light to dark.

This was the first layer done, and to be honest I was quite pleased with how the sky looked:


Next, after it had dried, I tried moving on to a darker blend of colours, adding it in the same way.

In retrospect I should have saved more of the lighter tones from the first layer in the water, and maybe used a stronger blend of colours for the second layer.

Also, I tried using a small cardboard box to paint a straight, clear, blue line where the ocean and the sky meets.

This didn’t go well, as you can see. And it leaked into the sky…


BUT, it kind of looks like mountains, right?

So, being a bit impatient (the recepy for disaster, I know), I just added some black to the mountain shaped areas.

I was a bit to quick though, as the ocean paint hadn’t dried up yet. So the black started leaking into the ocean as well…

Well, I kind of ended up in a state of panic mixed with disappointment, and just started addind black to the whole area  to cover it up.

It didnt’t go well…


Trying to get something out of it, I added a darker mix to the sand as well.

But, as with the ocean, I just covered up the whole beach with paint yet again. Making the first layer a complete waste of time.

So this is the point where I gave up.

I learned a lesson, and to be honest I just had to laugh at myself in the end.

Hoping for a better result next time…


22 kommentarer om “Learning watercolour.. didn’t go well

  1. You’re doing great! It just takes a lot of practice. The only way to master watercolor is to practice on a (ideally) daily basis. Do you watch Steve Mitchell from the Mind of Watercolor? He’s got a YouTube channel, and I think he’s a great teacher. I can also highly recommend «The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook» by Gordon MacKenzie.

    1. Practice I will!😃 I’ve never watched Steve Mitchell, no, but I’ll check him out. Gordon MacKenzie is also added to the list. Thank you for the tip ☺☺

    1. How nice of you!😊 I think it’s so cool that you took the time to do that. I think you’ve done a great job with the video production as well. I’ll follow your steps, and have a go at it☺

  2. Hi, Kim. Great try at the watercolor. I’m so glad you’re willing to try again. You are right in that you need to leave whites and lights by planning ahead. Using a good quality paper will help tremendously. You’re doing well with a flat wash. Try putting down a flat wash for the sky over all the paper. Let it dry completely. Then put in a purply-blue a little darker than the sky for a row of mountains far away. Make a wide band for the mountains and then, while it is still wet, paint with water from the bottom edge of mountains (just barely touch the wet paint and let it flow into the water) to the bottom of the paper. Let it dry completely. Do this a couple of times for distant mountains. Then mix up a strong green and put a couple evergreen trees in the foreground on either side of the paper.

    1. Thank you, Ruth 🙂 As you might have guessed, I used your tip about working light to dark and big to small. I just lost track of the whole painting after a while, and suddenly it was ruined… 🙂
      I’m using a van Gogh 300gG/M2 paper, so it should be ok for a beginner like me, right?
      I will try the technique you’ve described, if I understood it right. I haven’t tried painting with watercolour without a background sketch before, so it should be fun 🙂

    1. I bet it is 🙂 I haven’t really heard about masking fluid before, but I googled it now. Seems like a handy tool to have on the desk, so I’ve added it to my loooooooooong list of supplies to buy in the future 🙂

  3. Ohhh that’s such a good post. It shows so wonderful, that everyone need much patience with watercolour. When I’m outside sketching I never had this patience and all my attempts only use watercolour went wrong.

    But every time I tried and failed I also learn something about the colour and I hope you won’t give up to try!


    1. Thank you, Moony! That was a really pleasant comment to read 🙂

      I do most certainly believe that patience is key in the whole process, and I do seem to lose it when the painting is starting to take another direction than I want it to. I also seem to use waaaay to much paint and water..

      But every failure is a lesson. And I’ll keep on at 🙂

    1. Thank you for the tip, Amy ☺ I do certainly add to much water and paint at the moment. The paper almost crumpled up…😊 But I do think it’s a very interesting medium, so I won’t give up just yet☺

  4. This made me smile, I remember trying to paint with water colours a while back and one thing I learnt was that I personally could not control the paint! Instead I had to let the paint lead me if that makes sense? I think watercolour painting tend to be misty. I don’t think I’ve seen a sharp looking watercolour they’re usually dreamy.

      1. I was just telling my husband that we are very alike in that we don’t give up, I’m just working on a digital painting which looks like a watercolour as it’s so muted.

        I think it’s important to laugh at ourselves, too many good artists do not share their advice freely which is a shame. You and I will continue to learn the hard way. 😉

      2. It’s not fun if it’s easy, right? Then everyone could just go ahead and do it 🙂

        I agree. It definitely helps laughing, and not go the rest of the day sulking, like I did before.. 🙂 Every failure is a lesson, so we might as well appreciate the whole learning process of it 🙂

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