Secret Lesson for Workshops “Watch the Brush”

There are many great workshops that will show you how to paint portraits, flowers, outdoors (plein air), paint with texture, etc. That is all good. But what is most often misunderstood is why the artist gets one result and the rest of us get something different!

The secret?? The balance of water. There will be a difference between the teacher’s paint to water ratio and yours. The amount of water in your brush, on the paper, and in the paint is probably different from the teacher’s. Well duh! When attending classes, workshops, or watching video, I find one secret is to CLOSELY WATCH, I mean CLOSELY, what the professionals do without any conscious thought or mention with their brush. Watch when as they move their brush between the water bowl and paint on the pallet. You need to observe how thick the paint is on their pallet, and because they have a sense of how wet the paper is, which they may or may not explain, they select a certain amount of paint to put on the brush so watch the brush closely!!! Notice what the teacher is doing. Do they touch the brush with their fingers (I do), do they tap it on a sponge, on a tissue, on their sleeve, and for how long?? It happens in a blink of an eye! And that, my friend, changes everything.

I stress the water properties of paper, brush, and paint in my classes. Which is thirstier??? Is the brush now wetter or drier than the paper? The water will move to whichever is thirstier. You may lift paint if the brush is very dry or you may create a bloom if the brush is very wet. MAGIC!!! Understanding this elusive nature of watercolor is necessary in creating the product you imagine.

Good Luck,

Last Edited. Changed title, added, watch the brush, D’s edits 6 Aug 16