A minor setback

I’ve really felt that I’ve been on a watercolour streak for the last couple of weeks.

My paintings are far from flawless.

But considering the short time I’ve spent working with the medium, I have felt that the outcomes have been quite nice.

This painting became a minor setback, though.

It’s based on a tutorial video by Tim Wilmot


As you can see, it’s just too dark.

One of the hardest lessons I seem to struggle with in watercolour painting…

It’s too dark because I forgot to leave light areas from the first wash when I did the second one.

Not because I didn’t want it, but because I simply forgot.

Also, the houses and the forest on the right side looks terrible.

I’m not happy with it at all.

There’s one part of the painting I’m happy with, though.

This one:


Being my first go at painting a real boat (not dinghy), I’m very happy with how it turned out.

I also think the person on the left ended up looking quite good, with a nice shadow to her/him.

Anyway, I’ve taken some photos of the process, so I might as well show them.

I startet out doing a light sketch, to place the boats, the bridge and the houses.

Light sketch

Already you can see that I should have used a bit more time (or maybe less time) drawing the boats on the right side.

They simply don’t look right.

The one on the left is okay, though.

The houses on the right are also not looking quite right.

So, maybe this is the first mistake in the process of painting this painting.

Now it was time for a wash:

first wash

As you can see, there are some patches of colour.

Those should have been avoided, but all in all it’s ok.

Now I startet adding darker colours to the painting, in the second layer.

At first I left some blank spaces, to make the light colours from the first wash stand out.

However, when I started to try and save the painting from getting to dark, I ended up putting on even more paint.

Paint that covered all the light patches.

Also, the wash around the houses dried up before I got the paint on the houses themselves.

This made them stand out as well, and it just didn’t end up looking good.

Anyway, lesson learned (I hope), and on to the next one!

Here is a time-lapse video of the second layer 🙂

(I did try and do some changes the following day, though. So it’s not exactly like the finished painting)



15 kommentarer om “A minor setback

  1. Hi, Kim! I’m glad to see you found something you like in this painting! For the short time you’ve been painting, you’re doing very well.
    Black paint – ugh! In watercolor, black paint out of the tube tends to be a “dead” color. There’s little luminosity and it can suck the life out of a painting. There are many watercolorists who will tell you to never use black paint for the above reason. I use black, but usually only as a convenience color when painting a value study. For luminous blacks or near blacks (often called “darks”) try mixing ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Using very little water in this mixture will give you a great black, and it will have some variation in it because the two pigments will move and separate a little. Permanent alizarin crimson mixed with phthalo green makes an even darker black.

    1. Hi, Ruth! ☺ Aha! Some great insights there. Thank you ☺ I have been struggling with using black paint, and there are more examples to come in the following days.. ☺ I’ll have those mixes in mind the next time I’m in need of some dark paint. But I probably need to reconsider a lot of the dark paint I’ve been using in my latest sessions.. It certainly do tend to dull down the whole paper.

    1. Hi, Moony 🙂

      Yes, I did, and I am considering joining. Are you going to do it?

      For me, I do have the concern of not having enough time to finish the challenge if I decide to start. And there are few things I hate more than not finishing something I’ve started 🙂

      But it sounds like loads of fun, and I bet I would learn a lot through the challenge. I’ll have to think about it 🙂

      1. Ohhhh yes you’re right. But I also learn every new art is a good art. Last year I only painted one picture of flowers and some doodles with colors. But it was great, so this year I’ll try again. 😉

        So have fun, also you won’t finished the challenge.


      2. You know, I think you’re right 🙂 I guess It’s not that serious if I don’t get to do all thirty, and I’m sure it will be fun and rewarding to do as many as I can 🙂

        And then maybe I won’t use an hour for every painting I make. And that’s good, because the less time I use, the better it gets 🙂

        You’ve inspired me. I think I’ll have a go at it 🙂

    1. Well, yeah. If living animals are used for the purpose of making paint pigments, it is a concern. And, anyway, I’d rather use paint that isn’t made of animal products or tested on animals. It seems like a natural choice.
      I’m probably not good enough checking these things out, but the site does give a good indication.
      I don’t find a lot of the products I have on the site, for example the van Gogh paint, but it’s explained on the chart on handprint.com, so it’s clearly other ways to find out as well 🙂

  2. You’re welcome!

    But oh no, I’ve sent you the wrong link. Here’s the correct one: https://www.royaltalens.com/media/4471881/Van-Gogh-water-colour-ENG.pdf

    The pigment you are using is Pbk9 (still staining) which is made from charred animal bones. You can read about it on handprint: https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterw.html

    Please keep in mind that choosing the right watercolor paper is crucial to success. You only want to work with the best paper you can afford. So keep an eye out for 100% cotton watercolor paper. Popular brands include Fabriano Artistico, Arches, Hanemühle, Strathmore, Saunders Waterford.

    1. Thanks again! I didn’t notice that the link was wrong 🙂

      And I sure didn’t know that the colour came from charred animal bones… But it says it’s antiquity on the chart, so I guess that’s allright then.

      I haven’t quite got the grip on the whole chart information yet, but I’ll check out some of the guides on handprint.com as well.

      Right now I’m using the Saunders Waterford white rough paper. 300g/m2 and 100% cotton. I got some help in a painting store, so it should be good 🙂

  3. Ok. I visited the Royal Talens site and had a look at the Van Gogh color chart: You are using ivory black Pbk6 (that’s the pigment information) which is «Almost pure carbon made by burning petroleum residue (Ref: Color Index, Pigment and Solvent Dyes Edition, 1997)». The good news is that that’s the only pigment in the tube, meaning that when you mix it with other colors, there’s a lesser chance of muddying up your colors. Ideally, for a beginner, you want to get single pigment paints. Sometimes a color (in the tube) can consist of several pigments. If you study what pigments you buy carefully, you can avoid colors containing the same pigment and you can do your own mixes.

    «Lamp black PBk6 is a very lightfast, very opaque, heavily staining black pigment, available from 6 pigment manufacturers worldwide. The ASTM (1999) rates its lightfastness in watercolors as «excellent» (I). This is typically the darkest valued, most opaque black in a watercolor line (ivory or bone black is usually offered as a slightly less intense, warmer alternative). Because it is so dark, it shows a large proportional drying shift increasing in lightness by 180%.» (Source: https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/waterw.html)

    Here’s your color chart: https://www.royaltalens.com/media/4471853/Rembrandt-water-colour-ENG.pdf

    Hope this helps. BTW: You can definitely use black if you wish. Just be careful with it.

    1. Wow! This is a whole new world to me, knowing nothing about watercolour paint other than the name of their colours..
      I really need to get my head around all of this, and try to understand how it all works. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all of this for me. I really, really appreciate it. I would never have figured it out by myself 🙂

  4. Very nice composition, and I like how you handled the sky and mountain on the left. Are you perhaps using black watercolor. If so, that might be your culprit. Also check if that color is opaque or semi-transparent. Those colors are somewhat hard to handle and will dull up a painting in no time. Some colors are also staining, meaning they are harder to lift than non-staining ones.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Yes, I was using black paint, which I think I’ll reconsider, seeing that the paintings rarely get any positive effects from it. I can’t find any information on the tubes telling me if it’s opaque or semi-transparent. But it does stain pretty easy. It’s this one:

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