Saturday, March 6, 2010
Miniature Transparent Watercolour Workshop 1
While looking at the watercolour of a helicopter I've been painting as a belated Birthday gift for one of my sons, I was thinking of how much I enjoy miniature watercolour. I thought maybe some of you might like to see the techniques I use to create my miniature watercolours.
Knowing me, I will not be consistent about this and mix these blogs in with other blogs. You can click the label for Mini Watercolour down on the left side of my blog and it will bring them up as I do the watercolour workshop. I thought some of you might like to give mini water colour painting a try and if you already paint you might hear a couple of different techniques you haven't tried.
The first photo shows where I enjoy painting in our studio, under the window, lots of natural light and I am able to leave everything there. The large coffee cups hold two large pots of clean water each time I work. I also use a full spectrum lamp. I'm also showing how I keep my watercolours in small containers, works really well if you like to paint as I do in transparent layers, drying between each layer so I don't actually mix the paints on a palette, they blend by layers on the watercolour paper.
As my first introduction to this technique I will describe my supplies. My favorite brushes are Windsor Newton series 7, fine sable. I think it is a fallacy if you hear people say they must have used a brush with only one hair, lol. If you use a larger good brush, 0 or 1, that springs to a beautiful fine point or one bristle on the end, it will hold lots of colour and paint extremely fine as well. Smooth water colour paper is better for mini painting because it doesn't have a large texture. Many types are available, good quality is important. I like BFK Rives paper from France. Just because it is miniature you must not feel you can use less expensive supplies.
I prefer using transparent watercolours. My favorite paints are shown in the bottom photo. You really have to study all the watercolours to understand their properties as to how much they fade and how they interact with other colours. You don't want a mini painting to disappear after a few years from fading. I can simplify this for you buy telling you my favorite. You don't need to use as many colours as I do. My favorite watercolour books are shown above and they include Hilary Page's Guide to Watercolor Painting. Hilary has tested hundred's of paints and this book wonderfully describes all of her experiments with fading, mixing, how the paints handle etc. Making Watercolor Sign by Jeanne Dobie, AWS and Transparent Watercolor Wheel by Jim Koswanec, these are both excellent books to read to understand how transparent watercolours work.
I have also shown a few of my miniature reproduction paintings I painted while studying Helen Allingham and other artist's wonderful paintings from the turn of the 18th century.
I will show you close up photos of these later.
More to come, thanks for looking,
Mini Hugs, Jean