JDayMinis, 1:48 & 1:12 Scale Minis, Laser Cut Designs too.

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


  1. Jean you are so good ! I love them ! Rosanna

  2. Thank you for giving all this information. Your work looks amazing!


  3. What a multi talented Lady you are Jean. Your miniature Water colours are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them..xx

  4. thanks for sharing Jean .. I as a child, while trying, I have never been able to paint, I will learn from your blog, who knows that is not the right time ... LOL!

  5. Jean! I thought the helicopter picture was a photograph! Since your header is "transparent watercolour", I thought you are teaching us how to paint transparencies over a photograph which explains the tape at the edge of the helicopter painting! LOL. You are an amazing artist :).

    I never thought I could draw. In fact, I was pretty certain I couldn't but mini making has given me the confidence to try drawing again. Thank you for your wonderful wonderful tips.

    Great post!

  6. Wow,you are so talented! Is there anything you can not do? Thank you for sharing,and I love the helikopter,had to look twice to see it was hand painted! I thought it was a foto!

  7. I am in AWE! That helicopter looks SO real! I would love doing water colours too if I could do it like THIS!

  8. Jean you are an artist!!! I love these works!!!
    My congratulations!

  9. You are a gifted watercolorist, Jean. I'm looking forward to seeing your paintings up close and am so glad you'll be sharing how you do what you do so very well.

  10. Congratulations for your work, I also like watercolor, but has not done any in miniature.

  11. Congratulations Jean, I love the watercolor.
    Carmen kisses

  12. I love your miniature paintings, you are so talented! I particularly admire people who can paint as I find it very difficult! Will you have some paintings on your website?

    Thank you for explaining to me how to add blogs, it's working now. :)

  13. Thank you so much, you are all so amazingly generous with your lovely comments!! I really find painting a joy, even if I only paint for a few minutes a day, I'm hoping others might feel the same way.

    Maia, there are some of my miniature paintings on display in web site but not for sale. I have used a few of my the originals in my mini books. Thanks again everyone.

  14. Waow this is so impressive!!watercolor is so difficult, they look amazing! :-)

  15. Thank you so much! That is so kind of you to say. I sure found it difficult at first too, I was used to oils and acrylics and being able to cover over everything.


Thank you very much, so nice of you to take the time to leave a comment and to visit my blog!


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