Hello (too much) darkness, my old friend

My first attempt on painting (not just colouring) with watercolour went very bad.

My second attempt went a bit better, but still with lots of potential for improvement.

This is my third attempt, and an attempt I had about 45 minutes to get done. So I may have rushed it a bit..

Anyway, this time I wanted to get away from the beach and the city streets for a moment.

Out in the woods somewhere, where the air is fresh and the wind is blowing.

So I set to work making a light blue sky, trying to keep the colours light, and not overworking the paper.

I also made a layer with the same paint at the bottom of the paper, wanting to use it as reflections on a lake.

My next step was supposed to be painting some distant mountains, but I forgot…

So my next step was actually putting a distant forrest across the lake. Here I put some masking tape across the paper, just working the brush on top of it.

I have to admit that the whole process got a bit hasty, because I wasn’t all that happy with how it turned out.

That’s when I start to take rash decisions, to try and make it better as fast as possible.

In the end it looked ok, nothing more.

Removing the tape, I added some reflections in the water and started painting a little mud bank in front.

This is where the dark mistake happened again.

I started out with some green and brown paint, but it just didn’t look right.

So I took another rash decision, adding some black paint on top to try and cover it up.

Well, what do you know… it ended up too dark again….


And, as I’ve learned, you can’t go back on too dark paint when using watercolour.

I’m so used to painting with oils and acrylics that it’s clearly a hard lesson for me to learn…

Anyway, this is where I started to run out of time. But I did add a little tree in front. Very basic stuff, but it did add something to the whole look.

So, to sum up; another lesson learned, and I’ll go at it again real soon.

And, if I just crop out the whole mud bank from the photo, it looks a bit better as well. Go technology, right? 🙂


23 kommentarer om “Hello (too much) darkness, my old friend

  1. I’d say you’re really coming along! Watercolors take lots of practice and experimenting, as there are so many variables, whether in the brushstroke, paints themselves, the papers, subject matter, and on and on. I’m not going to try and give you tips, as you are clearly receiving so many already. All I will say is to not get hung up on one or another and have fun while learning!

    1. Thank you, Mary 🙂 Yes, watercolour sure is hard, and it’s quite challenging trying to understand everything that goes wrong all the time. Especially as I’ve worked so much with oils and acrylics before, which is a lot more forgiving. But I guess that’s much of the fun with watercolours. And I just love the way the colours blend together, and how we can use water in it’s purest form to create really cool effects. I’ll try to keep the sulking down when it goes wrong, but I’ll definitely have fun every time 🙂

  2. Nice! This reminds me that when I first studied watercolor, the teacher did not allow us to use black paint–ever. If there was black, we had to mix it from other colors. I use it now, but it was great practice not to have a tube of black on hand.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 That sounds like a great tip. Maybe I’ll try it out 🙂 I’ve ruined so many paintings using black paint, and with watercolour too much black paint is devastating to the whole painting. I will try and use other colours to make dark tones. I think in most cases it looks better that way 🙂

  3. Apparantly I already liked this post, but I forgot to comment (was a looooong couple weeks with a sick nephew at my house! :s) but this actually looks REALLY cool! I am starting to like the ‘silhouette’ looks on some horizon line in paintings, especially shared with a reflection in some water. For the water, I probably would have made it a different shade of blue or a darker hue just so that it looks different from the sky and the trees don’t look «floating». Right now the sky and water looks like all one plain – it might be the scan/picture settings though, or my eyes.

    1. Always enjoy reading your comments, Kate. So I’m glad you decided to add one as well to the like☺ And, hope your nephew is well (and out of the house) then 😉 The sky and water has the same colour blend, yes. And when you mention it it does look a bit floating. I probably could have used a different shade. I just didn’t have the motivation to try and save something out of it when the mud bank ended up way to dark ☺ I hope to learn from the mistake, and make it better next time, though ☺

  4. Yes you right if you can’t go back back on too dark paint in watercolor…! Watercolor painting is about layering from light to dark it is important to do not rush or get carried away from the color. Watercolor also need to be free, letting the color blend in the water it also depend on which style you choose and not over work or you get a very heavy effect and you don’t want that with watercolors. 😉

    1. I think it’s so cool when I see other artists using watercolour in the right way. The mix of paint, the layering, the use of gravity is all so cool. I hope to be able to do something similar one day..but it sure is hard!

  5. You got a really nice wash for the sky and the water. And your row of trees is good, too. I like that you painted them as a single shape across the paper instead of trying to paint them as individual trees.
    With each painting, find the things that you like about it. Remember how you did it so you can do it again! Then look at what you wish you had done differently. Count those things as learning experiences. If we’re learning (not simply doing the same thing over and over) we all have these paintings. Oftentimes these paintings don’t get published, but the paper is turned over and we paint again on the back of the paper.
    I know you like boats. For your next painting, try adding a boat. Lightly pencil in the boat. Decide which side of the boat will be in the light and which side in shadow. Then do the sky/water wash going around the sunlit side of the boat. (Yes, go right through the shadowed side of the boat. It makes it easier to avoid inadvertent gaps between the shadowed side and the water. After this layer dries completely (if you’re impatient, you can use a hair drier) paint the shadowed side of the boat a little darker than the water.
    I’m enjoying seeing your progress!

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Ruth. I’m glad you found some positives in it 🙂 I’ve becommed better at finding the things I like in my paintings as to before, when I simply through bad paintings straight in the bin and ended the sessions in a foul mood.. 🙂
      I’ll try the boat painting you mentioned. I do like them, yes 🙂
      And, by the way. This is the painting where I tried to paint your suggestion with some mountains in the background, but I went through it so fast that I forgot to add them.. 😛 I did it the evening before you added your tutorial video, so I haven’t had the chance to follow the video while painting yet 🙂

  6. Kim, the first dozen attempts will leave you vexed and that’s OK (I’m starting to sound like a self-help group for watercolorists). You actually managed to create an even wash with no hard edges, and that’s really great! I do have a few tips: It may be easier for you to only use transparent watercolors as they produce less mud when mixing (not that that’s happening in this piece). When we see things in the distance, they tend to have a more bluish cast. By adding colors of the cooler spectrum, you create distance. In addition, things in the far distance are less sharp and less defined. That’s where the spray bottle comes in handy. Or you could paint wet-in-wet to create that effect. I’m still learning myself but if I can help you in any way, feel free to contact me.

    1. Thank you for the insights, Laureen 🙂 Yes, it is certainly frustrating making mistakes in watercolour painting, since you don’t have the luxury to simply paint over it. Working with oils and acrylics, it’s hard to get that mindset out of my head 🙂 I’m glad the wash turned out even, though. I’m using van Gogh watercolour paint, but I don’t know which ones are transparent or not, to be honest 🙂 I’ll keep in mind the tip about painting objects in the distance as well 🙂 And it’s very nice to have someone to ask about stuff, so thank you for that!

      1. Are you using pan or tube watercolors? I’m not too familiar with Van Ghogh paints. All brands usually have a small stamp on the tube or on the wrapper. Usually a square, a circle or a triangle. It can be filled out completely (usually black) = opaque, partially filled = semi-transparent or white = transparent. Be sure to check out handprint.com You’ll find everything you need to know about watercolors!

      2. I use both, but the recent paintings are made from tube paint..😃 I’m away from my watercolour paint at the moment, but I’ll check for any signs when I get home again. I didn’t know there was a difference 😌 I’ve never known about handprint.com either, so I’ll be sure to check that out as well ☺

    1. Thank you, Elaine ☺ There are some parts I’m quite pleased with. It just ruins it for me when there’s parts I don’t like as well ☺ That’s all I see when I look at it.

      1. We are our own worst critics, you know I wouldn’t give you praise if I didn’t like it. Be confident Kim, you are very good ❤️

      2. You’re probably right about that, yes ☺ Thank you again for the kind words. It’s nice to have someone take a fresh look at the things I make. It almost always gives another view on it ☺ And I do appreciate your honesty. Both the positives and the stuff I can work on ☺

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